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8:56 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Woman collected mother's Social Security 13 1/2 years after death

Federal prosecutors say a 75-year-old woman has admitted collecting her mother's Social Security payments for 13½ years after her mother died.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten says Shirley A. Bunda of Gretna got more than $173,000 to which she wasn't entitled, and pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft of government funds.

A news release says Bunda and her mother shared a joint checking account, and her mother's Social Security payments came by direct deposit.

Prosecutors say Bunda never told the Social Security Administration of her mother's death on Feb. 15, 1998, and the payments kept coming through Aug. 3, 2011.

Sentencing is scheduled Oct. 10. Maximum penalty would be 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution.

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