Former Beauty Queen Says She Did Not Steal Dying Mom's Social Security Checks to Pay for Lavish Lifestyle
The former Mrs. Florida is scheduled to trade her evening gown for a prison jumpsuit after pleading guilty to stealing her mother's Social Security checks, prosecutors say, to help fund her opulent lifestyle.
But in an interview with Inside Edition, the beauty queen denied that.
Karyn Turk was crowned Mrs. Florida 2016 and quickly grew a large following on social media. The 47-year-old mom is also a conservative commentator and vocal supporter of President Trump, making multiple visits to Mar-a-Lago.
Prosecutors allege she stole from her 83-year-old mother, who was battling Alzheimer’s and owed $219,000 in nursing home bills. Turk is accused of using that money on high-society events, shopping sprees and a nanny to watch her children, officials said.
But Turk claimed those allegations were not true.
"I in no way was using my mother’s money to furnish some sort of lavish lifestyle," she told Inside Edition.
Turk pleaded guilty to misdemeanor social security fraud and was sentenced to one month behind bars. After her release, she will be required to complete five months of house arrest.
"I was advised by my lawyers that that was in my best interests and I did that," she said of pleading guilty. "I did feel by doing that it was going to allow me to move forward and unfortunately, in the process, I have been strung up in the media as something that I am not."
The Social Security checks were supposed to pay the nursing home where her mom lived. But Turk says she refused to pay the nursing home bills because the facility neglected her mother, she says.
"My mother died under horrific conditions,” she said. “She died of severe neglect with bed sores all over her body, in a condition that no one should have to live through."
Turk says she used the money to pay for private nurses to take care of her mother around the clock.
"The money has been returned to the government, I made full restitutions for every dollar that they had in question," she said. "Knowing what I know now, I would have done things very differently."
She plans to appeal. Inside Edition’s calls to the nursing home for comment were not returned.
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