A former Bellevue resident who collected his mother’s Social Security benefits for 23 years after her death was sentenced to six months in prison Monday and ordered to pay $188,436 in restitution.
Raymond C. O’Dell, 70, who now lives in Arizona, was also fined $20,000 for theft of government funds and sentenced to an additional six months of home detention, according to a press release from Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.
“Cheaters shred the safety net for those that really need it,” Durkan said in a statement.
Records filed in the case show that O’Dell’s mother died in November 1989. He did not inform the government of her death, and on at least two occasions contacted the Social Security Administration to update her contact information.
O’Dell also fraudulently collected $100,000 in pension benefits from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, a crime for which he is expected to be sentenced in Ohio later this week.
The case is the latest of eight Social Security fraud cases prosecuted in Western Washington over the past year. Courts have ordered a collective $1 million in restitution in the cases.
“Those who might be tempted to cheat the government of these funds need to know prison and hefty fines wait at the end of the scheme,” Durkan said.