Tennessee College Coach Pleads Guilty to Illegally Cashing Social Security Disability Checks

Friday, October 19, 2012
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say the athletic director and basketball coach at Southwest Tennessee Community College has pleaded guilty to illegally cashing Social Security disability checks belonging to other people.

The U.S. attorney's office for West Tennessee said Thursday that 49-year-old Benjamin Rhodes pleaded guilty to two counts related to illegally receiving and cashing approximately $12,800 in Social Security disability payments.

Using a rental property, Rhodes took in disabled people in exchange for his being named guardian over them. Prosecutors said he diverted payments for at least four people to himself over a five-year period and received and cashed Social Security payments even after they died.

Each count carries up to five years in prison.

Rhodes was named athletic director and head basketball coach at the college in July.