Patricia Hodges, 66, of Marietta, Ohio has been ordered to repay $141,962 in Social Security benefits she collected on behalf of her dead mother, serve 30 days in prison and six months of home confinement as part of a three-year period of court supervision.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Elias Papoulias, Resident Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge George C. Smith.
Hodges pleaded guilty on February 27, 2013 to one count of theft of government money. According to testimony at the plea hearing by an agent with the Social Security Inspector General, a Social Security Administration official interviewed Hodges at her Marietta home in November 2011. Hodges’ mother would have been 103 at the time and the official wanted proof that Hodges’ mother was still alive. Hodges claimed her mother was on a cruise and planned to live with a niece in New York after the cruise.
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. Florida law enforcement investigators recovered the skeletal remains of Hodges’ mother.
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.
Individuals who want to report suspected cases of can contact the Social Security Office of Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline, 1-800-269-0271, or complete an online fraud reporting form at http://oig.ssa.gov/report.
Stewart commended the investigation by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and the Marietta Police, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale E. Williams Jr., who represented the United States in the case.