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Woman admits stealing late mom's Social Security

Published: Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

BENTON (AP) — A southern Illinois woman faces up to a decade in federal prison now that she has admitted stealing more than $85,000 in Social Security benefits after her mother died.

Fifty-one-year-old Mary Barnett-Johnson of Mount Vernon pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to one count of theft of government funds.

A grand jury indicted her in December in East St. Louis, alleging that after her mother's 2003 death Barnett-Johnson fraudulently continued to receive and use the dead woman's Social Security benefits.

The theft took place between August 2003 and September 2011.

Barnett-Johnson also faces up to a $250,000 fine and a prison term when sentenced May 30.

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