Detroit's Most Wanted Captured: Linda Pesenecker allegedly stole thousands

Posted at 4:16 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 17:42:30-04

She’s accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the government.

The U.S. Marshals say Linda Pesenecker collected her dead mother’s Social Security checks for more than 30 years. They say it’s how she made a living, living under the radar which is why they need your help now to find her.

“This absolutely wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t ‘oh I misplaced some things, I forgot to file something,’ this is 30 years of stealing from the government,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Rob Watson said.

It’s a case like the Marshals have never seen before.

“Linda Pesenecker, she’s been stealing from the Social Security Administration since 1986,” Watson said.  “She’s been collecting her deceased mother’s Social Security pension.”

An investigation revealed Linda Pesenecker not only began collecting her dead mothers Social Security checks more than 30 years ago, but that she did whatever she could to keep the scam going.

“She had sent a fraudulent letter to the Social Security Administration, trying to impersonate her mother, sent her mother’s signature and all the while her mother’s been deceased for many years,” Watson said.

Believed to have fraudulently collected more than $175,000, the Marshals say that cash kept her off the radar and supported her drug habit.

“She kind of lived a secluded life, her family refuses to assist law enforcement, refuses to cooperate and that just makes it that much more difficult, when you have family members that are not helping, but they’re also providing some kind of aide,” Watson said.

He says law enforcement believes Pesenecker uses heroin.

“There’s no doubt the money that she’s stolen is going to fuel her drug habit,” Watson said.

Linda Lee Pesenecker was captured on Monday, May 1, just days after being featured as our Detroit's Most Wanted. 

A viewer tip led to her arrest in Lincoln Park.