An off-duty NYPD Brooklyn cop was arrested Tuesday for pretending that his dead mother was still alive so he could cash in on her social security and pension checks, officials said.
Police and federal agents uncovered a cache of five loaded firearms — including an AK-47 — when they swarmed the Mill Basin home of Police Officer Edward St. Hill, 52, who allegedly continued to cash his 77-year-old mother Germain St. Hill’s checks for two years after she had died in 2016, bilking the government, his mother’s pension and life insurance policy of nearly $330,000, authorities said.
His wife, Maria Ramos, 45, dressed in a light pink nightgown decorated in smiling teacups when cops nabbed her, was also arrested for calling Social Security and other agencies pretending to be her deceased mother-in-law, officials said.
“This greedy and macabre conduct is even more egregious because police officers take an oath to uphold the law,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday.
Investigators said the couple had a death certificate generated for Germain St. Hill when she died June 4, 2016, but put the wrong Social Security number on the certificate.
With the bogus number on the death certificate, the feds weren’t alerted to the woman’s passing, laying the groundwork for a massive scam that would ultimately defraud the federal government of $38,000 and Germain St. Hill’s pension of $50,000, officials said.
The two also sold Germain St. Hill’s Brooklyn home for $260,000 and had bilked the dead woman’s MetLife insurance policy of $160,000.
“The two defendants effectively assumed Germain’s identity,” Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Peter Choi told Judge Danny Chun. “(They) did everything to conceal the fact Germain passed away.”
St. Hill also had his dead mother’s Percocet prescription refilled on 14 separate occasions, but it was not clear if the couple was using the drugs or selling them. He even “leveraged his knowledge, position and power” as a cop — on one occasion, following his mom’s death, visiting her primary-care physician in uniform and convincing them to refill her prescription, Choi said.
An employee at the Mill Basin Pharmacy, where St. Hill would get his mom’s prescription refilled, said no one ever saw the elderly woman.
“She was sick, bedridden,” said the employee, who wished not to be named. “He always came and picked up her medicine. He was quiet and never thought anything of it.”
Ramos was another story, the employee said.
“Nothing was ever good for her,” the employee said. “She had to go to another pharmacy.”
In the end, it was their attempt to defraud MetLife insurance that unraveled the scam.
The couple had claimed another family member had taken money out of Germain St. Hill’s three annuity accounts. To prove the “theft,” they had to fax a forged NYPD arrest report, as well as several letters with NYPD letterhead to MetLife.
MetLife had questions about the paperwork and alerted the NYPD, which triggered an investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
St. Hill and his wife were arrested after a yearlong investigation, officials said.
They were both charged with grand larceny, identity theft, criminal possession of a controlled substance and forgery, officials said. St. Hill faces an additional charge of official misconduct.
A judge ordered Hill held on $200,000. His wife was ordered held on $50,000. Both are facing 25 years in jail if convicted.
During the arraignment, Ramos appeared to be shaking, swaying from side to side.
Ramos’ attorney Marisa Baton, said her client suffers from brain damage and memory loss — and is actually allergic to Percocet.
“I know people are acting like this is the case of the century,” Baton said when asking for low bail. “I don’t think it is.”
Hill’s attorney William Fowlkes said that the NYPD cop “put his life on the line every day.”
“There is no need, in this case, for bail to be set,” he said.
The 15-year NYPD veteran is assigned to the 28th precinct in Harlem. He was suspended after his arrest, pending the outcome of his case. He joined the force in 2003, sources said.
St. Hill and Ramos were awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Hill and Ramos’ daughter declined to speak to reporters when reached Tuesday. The daughter later denied the allegations.
“It doesn’t matter if the allegations are damning,” the relative said. “None of this is true.”