A Franklin, Maine, woman who collected nearly $31,500 in Social Security payments in her dead mother's name has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of theft of public money.
The Portland Press Herald reports that 66-year-old Barbara Phillips appeared in U.S. District Court in Bangor on Wednesday and waived her right to have her case presented to a grand jury.
Prosecutors say Phillips' mother was legally collecting Social Security benefits as the surviving spouse of a retiree until her death. After she died, Phillips continued to have access to her mother's checkbook and repeatedly withdrew direct deposit overpayments from the Social Security Administration.
She faces up to 10 years in federal prison and can be fined as much as $250,000.