Richard Did It: Seventy-Year-Old Woman Sentenced In Trans-Fraud Case

There is a criminal case that is truly a reflection of our changing times. A 70-year-old transgender woman named Richelle Dee McDonald was convicted of stealing nearly $250,000 in federal disability benefits. What makes this different is that it was committed by both Richelle and Richard McDonald, who are one and the same. McDonald applied for benefits as a man while working simultaneously as a woman during much of the same period she was receiving SSI payments.


Here is how it worked. McDonald originally received a social security card at age 15 under her birth name of Richard Duncan McDonald and, in 1974, McDonald also received Supplemental Security Income benefits because of injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. Those payments went to a bank in California. In 1972, however, McDonald applied for a second social security number under her new name Richelle Dee McDonald. She underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 1981 and subsequently worked nearly 25 years as a janitor for a hospital chain in Oregon.

It was not until years later that federal officials tried to confirm her identity and noticed not just the similarity of names but the fact that Richelle Dee McDonald was exactly four years younger than Richard Duncan McDonald.

Judge_Marco_A._Hernandez
Judge Hernandez

That seems like a prolonged, premeditated scheme to defraud the United States government. Yet, surprisingly, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez did not sentence her to jail for a quarter of million dollars of stolen money. Instead, he handed down the remarkably light sentence of eight months of home confinement and three years of probation. The reason was what the court saw as her troubled background as a young adult. Yet, this fraud continued for years from age 15 to age 70. That seems like a considerable period to mitigate as a troubled childhood. For example, when she went back for the second social security number, she lied and said that she never received a card. She maintained a driver’s license in California and the bank account to continue to rip off the government.

In court, McDonald told Hernandez “I’m just sorry I did what I did.” Her court-appointed defense lawyer, C. RenĂ©e Manes did a terrific job in securing the deal with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen L. Cooper.

McDonald previously signed over $30,000 to the government, but it would take 20 years for Social Security to recoup the losses. That does not seem a particularly good deal for the United States government.

What do you think?

Source: ABA Journal and Oregon Live

13 thoughts on “Richard Did It: Seventy-Year-Old Woman Sentenced In Trans-Fraud Case”

  1. I wonder if the $250,000 is before interest??? Anyway, what a jerk! I am surprised the judge didn’t praise him for being sooo brave, and all that garbage like with Bruce Jenner.

    She? It!
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a tranny named Rick,
    And boy, what he did was slick!
    He collected as “He”
    While he worked as a “She”,
    A sweet trick for a chick with a d–k!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  2. That money was stolen from a hard working woman who works 2 jobs as a housekeeper. One job is @ a motel, the other @ a rich woman’s house. It was this maid’s money that works 16 hour days to support her family was stolen.

  3. If the money was stolen from this pansie judge, this person would have gotten the maximum. Hell, if the money was stolen from something that meant something to this judge, time would have been given. But, it was just stolen from schmuck taxpayers. What’s the big deal??

  4. Fraud is rampant in govt. disability. The core problem is it is not the govt.’s money, IT’S YOURS and it grows on trees if you’re the govt. We are heading toward Greece if the people don’t step up and take back their govt.

  5. It looks like a combination of ‘far too complicated for my pea brain’ and ‘this might get me a lot of bad press and with my pea brain and missing spine’. Judges are notorious for having no balls, deferring stuff that needs to be scrutinized to precedent, and ‘moving on’.

  6. Prison would be too costly. My suggestion of cutting off the weeny up in the first comment is more cost preventative. Different strokes for different folks.

  7. Put a 70 year old person in prison for a few years, and it will cost more in medical bills than what it would be worth. Better to let the hospitals and doctors take a hit on this one. I wonder if he was also getting social security benefits from both accounts?

  8. It took the government 55 years to notice the fraud, so the statute of limitations would preclude her (him?) from having to repay anything but the most recent 5 years. He repaid $30,000. I don’t excuse the fraud, but I have no sympathy for a government with such lax controls. The social security administration should be investigated as well, for allowing this to continue for 55 years. Apparently they don’t conduct the same routine audits which the government requires of private companies.

  9. The judge and prosecutor must be confused with the difference between right and wrong

  10. There needs to be a transgender sexual penalty here. If the defendant still has a weenie then cut it off. If not then sew on a hotdog. Ten years in prison for each forty thousand stolen.

Comments are closed.