Sandyville man admits cashing dead uncle's Social Security check - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sandyville man admits cashing dead uncle's Social Security checks

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A Jackson County man has admitted he continued to collect Social Security benefits for his uncle for more than a year after he died.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Michael Smith, 36, of Sandyville, pleaded guilty Monday, Feb. 10, to theft of government money.

Smith served as representative payee for his uncle, James Conrad, beginning in October 2008. Conrad died in April 2009 and his benefits should have terminated. Smith, however, continued to receive benefits for 14 months, Goodwin said.

Smith faces up to five years in prison and mandatory restitution in the amount of $10,110. He's scheduled to be sentenced May 7.

The Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution. The plea was taken by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.