A husband and wife from Texas pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to concealing the death of the wife’s father to continue receiving his Social Security retirement benefits.
Terry Lee and Melanie Jane Anderson admitted they hid the death of Melanie’s father, Mervin Hartman and stole approximately $100,000 from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Court documents show Hartman died while living in the Philippines in 2002.
The SSA stops sending payments after a retiree has died but in this case, no death certificate was submitted to the organization. Therefore, the SSA continued to directly deposit money into Hartman’s bank account.
Hartman’s death was discovered by the SSA in 2013 following an investigation.
The investigation showed the Andersons had kept the bank account active after Hartman’s death. They had access to his account and withdrew funds for their own use over the years.
The Andersons had been living in southern California at the time.
Both entered guilty pleas Tuesday, admitting they knew Hartman’s retirement funds should have ceased after his death and they stole the money for themselves.
As part of their plea agreement, the couple agreed to pay $95,877.78 in restitution money to the SSA.
Terry Lee and Melanie Jane Anderson are scheduled to be sentenced on August 15.