COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A Bishopville woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $50,000 from the Social Security Administration by collecting checks issued to her late mother.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says 65-year-old Earnestine Lowery did not tell Social Security when her mother died in 2008 and continued to collect her retirement benefits until this January, when the agency discovered the death.
U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour accepted Lowery's guilty plea in federal court in Columbia. Lowery will be sentenced later.
Nettles says the maximum penalty for theft of government funds is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.