Man accused of stealing pension payments to deceased mother

A Gwinnett County grand jury has indicted the son of a former Atlanta school teacher for allegedly stealing more than $85,000 in pension payments from the state Teacher's Retirement System after his mother died.

Levon Chett Barrett, 50, was indicted Wednesday on one count of violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, according to Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office.

Kane said Barrett's mother, Juliette Barrett, began receiving retirement benefits in May 1997, with the payments being electronically transferred into her checking account.

"Unbeknownst to TRS, Ms. Barrett died in September 2007," Kane said in a statement. "TRS continued paying retirement benefits until it discovered Ms. Barrett's death in February 2010, via a call from the Atlanta Public Schools' Human Resources office."

According to Kane, an investigation revealed that Levon Barrett stole the funds from his deceased mother's account through the use of a PIN-based financial transaction card.

She said Levon Barrett, when interviewed by the GBI in July, "admitted to withdrawing and using funds from his mother's account after her death."

Kane said that between October 2007 and February 2010, Levon Barrett stole $85,712.52 in retirement system funds from his mother's bank account.