Two Oklahoma Women Plead Guilty to Illegally Collecting More Than $350,000 in Death Benefits

Date: 
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Office Affiliation: 

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

Two Sapulpa women pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to 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. 

Patricia Lee Kendall, 66, and Peggy Lee Larue, 63, both of Sapulpa, 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. 

“Illegally taking the Social Security death benefits and military retirement benefits meant for their mother, long after she passed away, is shameful,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Fraud investigations performed by inspectors general are crucial to identifying waste, abuse, or fraud. I applaud the efforts of the investigators and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Proctor and Shannon Cozzoni in this case.”

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. The two are subject to a criminal forfeiture money judgement in the amount of $354,002.

U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell set sentencing for Dec. 4, 2019.

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 are prosecuting the case.