Crime & Courts

Wichita woman sentenced for taking dead grandmother’s payments

File illustration
File illustration The Wichita Eagle

A Wichita woman who continued to receive her grandmother’s Social Security payments after her death was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Tom Beall.

Verlarina Ruth Collins, 49, was sentenced to 45 months in prison on Monday after she pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding the Social Security Administration of more than $40,000 between 2007 and 2013, according to the release. Collins also pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft in connection with the fraud.

Collins received 24 months for the identity theft charge and 21 months on the fraud charge, the release said. By law, the terms must run consecutively.

Because Collins’ grandmother was receiving the benefits on her late husband’s Social Security account as his survivor, the administration did not connect her death to her husband’s account and continued to make the payments, according to the release.

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath