Woman Accused of Keeping Mother’s Corpse in Order to Collect Social Security

December 11, 2021 Topic: Social Security Region: United States Blog Brand: Politics Tags: Social SecuritySocial Security FraudPolitics

Woman Accused of Keeping Mother’s Corpse in Order to Collect Social Security

The practice is more common than you might expect.

People being accused of collecting Social Security improperly because they failed to report the death of a parent or other relative and kept collecting their benefits is far from a rare thing. But what’s a bit more rare occurrence is for someone to be accused of carrying out such a fraud scheme by keeping the relative’s dead body in their home.

That’s the charge against a New Hampshire woman, as reported this week. According to WGME, a fifty-four-year-old woman has been arrested, after police say she kept her mother’s corpse in her home for months in order to collect the mother’s Social Security checks.

According to the report, concerned relatives who had not seen the mother in months asked for a wellness check, and when they followed up the woman refused to let them in. A subsequent search warrant led to the discovery of the mother’s body at the home.

The mother is believed to have died of natural causes, before Memorial Day, although she wasn’t found until October, indicating that the body was in the house for nearly seven months. The daughter was arrested and charged with abuse of a corpse. There has been no announcement of federal charges related to the alleged Social Security fraud, at least as of yet; those charges tend to come at the federal level.

There are occasional reports of similar schemes. In August, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a fifty-four-year-old Arkansas woman was arrested and charged with both abuse of a corpse and financial identity fraud, after the body of her mother was found to have been kept in her home for several months. That scheme, authorities said, was also an attempt to collect the mother’s Social Security.

In the Arkansas case, the seventy-two-year-old mother was reported missing in July, after her brother reported not having seen her in nearly a year, and was aware that she had stage 4 breast cancer. When police asked the daughter where her mother was, the newspaper said, she claimed her mother was with "an unknown friend at an unknown location.” A search warrant of the daughter’s home led to the discovery of the mother’s corpse. The mummified body was “wrapped in newspaper from 2020,” and the daughter told police that her mother owed her money.

Back in November, a Nevada woman was accused of dismembered her husband’s body, trashing the body parts, and continuing to collect his Social Security benefits after not reporting his death for nearly four years. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the woman told people her husband was on a “walk-about.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.