Two Sapulpa Sisters Sentenced for Illegally Collecting More Than $350,000 in Death Benefits

Date: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Office Affiliation: 

From the  U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma:

Two Sapulpa sisters were sentenced today in U.S. District Court for illegally taking more than $350,000 in Social Security and military retirement benefits that were meant for their mother, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Patricia Lee Kendall, 66, and Peggy Lee Larue, 63, both of Sapulpa, to six months in federal prison to be followed by three years on supervised release.

“It is disgraceful that these two sisters fraudulently stole Social Security death benefits and military retirement benefits,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Their fraud was ongoing for nearly 20 years. In addition to serving time in federal prison, they will be required to make payments to compensate these federal programs for the more than $350,000 in stolen funds.”

Kendall and Larue pleaded guilty to two-counts of aiding and abetting each other to illegally take and conceal government property in the form of money from both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund. The women admitted in court that they failed to notify authorities of their mother’s death in December 2000. Previously, their mother had received the death benefit payments as a result of her husband’s military service.  After their mother passed away, the payments should have ceased.

Kendall and Larue illegally took money from the Social Security Administration in the aggregate value of $224,237 in Social Security income as well as money from the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund in the aggregate value of $129,765 in military retirement funds. During sentencing, Judge Frizzell further ordered the two sisters to repay the $354,002.

The Social Security Administration- Office of Inspector General and Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Proctor and Shannon Cozzoni prosecuted the case.