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November 14, 23

NEWS / WA woman accused of forging marriage certificate to claim survivor benefits

A Washington woman has been accused of forging a marriage certificate in an attempt to claim $21,500 in survivor benefits from the state. The woman has pled “not guilty” to the charges.

The defendant, identified as Katherine A. Pratt, reportedly claimed she was the spouse of a man who died in a heavy equipment related accident on November 12, 2022. She submitted an application for survivor benefits with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), providing a marriage certificate supposedly showing that she married the man in Mineral County, Montana, in September 2014. Pratt also claimed 2 dependents—her 7-year old son and an unborn child who was due in April 2023, according to a news story by The Chronicle.

L&I initially approved Pratt’s application in December 2022, and the woman went on to receive a total of $21,453.20 in benefits in the following 5 months.

In April 2023, L&I received a complaint alleging that the marriage certificate Pratt provided was in fact false and that she had not been legally married to the deceased man. An L&I investigator then reached out to the Montana district court where the marriage certificate had supposedly been filed, but discovered no record for Pratt’s purported marriage.

The investigator went on to question Pratt’s daughter, who stated that her mother had never been married and that one of the witnesses listed on the marriage certificate had been deported in 2006, while the other had never even visited either Montana or Washington. She also said that her mother was not pregnant at the time of submitting the application, implying that her claim of the 2nd dependent was also false.

Pratt was charged in Lewis County Superior Court with 1 count of 1st degree theft and 2 counts of forgery on October 2. At the preliminary hearing on November 8, Pratt entered a “not guilty” plea to all charges. Judge Joely Yeager released Pratt on a $10,000 bond. Her trial is scheduled for January 2024.

In an unrelated case, Pratt has also been charged with 7 counts of animal cruelty over unsanitary conditions of her dogs, who were reportedly kept in tiny unclean cages. Pratt’s defense lawyer reportedly claimed that the death of Pratt’s husband left her in a position where she was no longer able to manage the animals.

A&M Logos International can verify the authenticity of a marriage in the United States and can also obtain certified copies of your marriage certificate. We can legalize the certificate for use in any foreign country. Call us today at (212) 233-7061 or e-mail us at info@apostille.us. You may also wish to check out our website.



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