Woman Buried Mother in Backyard--Then Collected Her Social Security for 14 Yrs

March 12, 2013 - 3:32 PM

Social Security COLA

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2005, file photo rolls of blank social security checks run through printers (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, file)


(CNSNews.com) – An Ohio woman concealed her mother’s death by burying her body in the back yard and then collected the dead women's Social Security for the next 14 years.

According to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of the Inspector General, Patricia Hodges, 65, of Marietta, Ohio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Feb. 27 to one count of theft of government money for hiding her mother’s death in order to continue receiving her mother’s Social Security benefits.

During testimony in a hearing before the Southern District of Ohio, it was revealed that Hodges lied to the SSA in November 2011, saying her mother was on a cruise and was planning on moving to New York.

“Further investigation by the Social Security Administration and Marietta Police concluded that Hodges’ mother had died in 1997 and that Hodges had buried her mother’s body in the back yard of a house in Lake Worth, Florida where they had lived,” the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said.  “Florida law enforcement investigators recovered the skeletal remains of Hodges’ mother.”

According to the OIG, “Hodges admitted that she concealed her mother’s death in order to collect $141,962 in Social Security benefits she was not entitled to receive between 1997 and October 2011."

Hodges faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years of supervised release.  Hodges is free on bond until her sentencing date is scheduled.

The Social Security Administration has administered payments to deceased individuals before.  CNSNews.com previously reported at least 30 dead people received benefits totaling $405,357, in 2012.

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