A Marietta woman who concealed the death of her mother and continued to collect her Social Security benefits for more than a decade was ordered Wednesday to repay all the money and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
Patricia Hodges, 66, was also sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge George C. Smith to six months of home confinement as part of a three-year period of court supervision, according to a release from the office of Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
She must repay $141,962 in Social Security benefits.
Hodges had pleaded guilty in the Southern District Court of Ohio in Columbus to one count of theft of government money in February. She faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.
According to the statement of facts, Hodges admitted to investigators in November 2011 that her mother, Janet Kelly, had died of natural causes in the spring of 1997 in Lake Worth, Fla. Hodges, who was living with her mother at the time, buried her in the backyard and continued to receive her Social Security benefits until November 2011.
Hodges became the subject of an investigation by the Social Security Administration while living at 1322 Colegate Drive in September 2011.
Kelly, who was born in 1908, would have turned 103 that year and it is the policy of the Social Security Administration to require face-to-face visits with those 103 and older.
According to the statement of facts, a Social Security Administration official became suspicious when she could not locate Kelly at the Colegate Drive address which was associated with the bank account receiving Kelly's benefits.
In the course of assisting that investigation, the Marietta Police Department located 30 marijuana plants inside the home, which Patricia shared with her husband, Marvin Hodges, 67, as they were checking the residence for Kelly's body.
The pair were arrested on felony drug possession charges.
Patricia pleaded guilty last year to a fourth-degree felony count of cultivation of marijuana and was sentenced to serve six months in prison.
Marvin pleaded guilty at the same time to fifth-degree felony possession of marijuana and was sentenced to an eight-month prison term.
Marvin was never charged in the Social Security fraud case.
According to a report by the Palm Beach County, Fla. Sheriff's Office, Patricia had relayed to Ohio detectives that Marvin was not living with her and Kelly in Florida at the time of Kelly's death. No foul play was suspected in the death.