Court records show Pamela Mosley never signed Helen Burke's name on a check, but Mosley did spend nearly $70,000 of Social Security benefits four-and-a-half years after her mother's death.
"I have remorse and regret for my conduct and my actions," Mosley told U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon on Monday in Charlottesville. "It shamed and embarrassed my family, its history and lineage."
Burke's was one of an estimated 890 cases totaling about $99 million in which Social Security continued compensating dead beneficiaries, the administration found in a 2011 study that paired agency data with Medicare claims to target overpayments.
Mosley asked Moon for leniency. He sentenced her to pay a $2,000 fine and $100 special assessment.
Mosley, 68, who made a living working on homes, said she sold her own Nelson County residence to repay the federal government.
"In your case, you have done more to make amends for your conduct than just about any case I know of," Moon said.
The administration said it launched the investigation that led federal prosecutors to charge Mosley with fraud in 2012. She cooperated from the outset, said Ron Huber, assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia.
"She has absolutely no prior criminal history and when confronted, she fully accepted responsibility for her conduct," Huber said.
Mosley used the funds to maintain her home in Schuyler, according to court records.