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Former Social Security employee gets 21 months for check fraud

A former Social Security Administration employee was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison Monday for cashing her dead mother’s Social Security checks for almost 30 years.

Georgia Thompson, 68, of Chicago, received $419,644 in fraudulent Social Security benefits from the checks between 1986 and 2014, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Thompson’s mother died on Aug. 3, 1986, but Thompson failed to notify the Social Security Administration about the death even though she worked for the agency, prosecutors said.

For the first 21 years after her mother’s death, the checks were mailed to a P.O. box in Chicago that Thompson controlled, prosecutors said. Thompson then forged her mother’s signature to cash the checks.

In October 2007, Thompson used her mother’s ID to have the Social Security Administration start directly depositing the funds into a bank account she controlled, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

The Social Security Administration discovered the fraud in 2014 after realizing Thompson’s mother hadn’t used her Medicare benefits in several years, prosecutors said. Thompson pleaded guilty in June to one count of theft of government funds.

In addition to imposing the 21-month prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood also ordered Thompson to pay $419,644 in restitution, according to prosecutors.