Mom died but woman spent $170K in Social Security

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area woman won’t go to prison but must repay $170,000 in Social Security benefits that were directly deposited into a bank account for years after her mother’s death.

Candace Johnson was sentenced to three years of supervised release, which is similar to probation. Federal prosecutors had asked for six months in custody.

The 58-year-old Johnson and her mother jointly had a bank account. Social Security payments should have ended after her mother’s death. But the government says Johnson made dozens of withdrawals between 2000 and 2009 and again from 2015 until last year. The account had more than $120,000 in May.

Defense attorney Herman Griffin says Johnson is “embarrassed and humiliated” about what happened. Johnson’s poor health was a factor in the light sentence Thursday.