Harlan Still & Koch

Woman gets life in prison for imprisoning, stealing from disabled

Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income payments are supposed to go to the disabled individual the Social Security Administration sends the funds to. The money is supposed to make up for the fact that the individual cannot support him- or herself through work.

The money should not go instead to someone exploiting the rightful recipient. Stealing SSD or SSI checks is a crime with very serious potential penalties, as a woman behind a notorious kidnapping scheme recently learned.

As OzarksFirst.com reports, a federal judge recently sentenced the woman to life in prison plus 80 years, and ordered her to pay more than $293,000 in restitution and fines, after the woman pleaded guilty to several charges. The charges were related to her keeping four disabled adults locked up while she abused them and stole their disability payments.

Readers may recall the case, which made headlines in 2011. Authorities say the woman, along with her daughter and three others, kept the victims chained up and locked in various closets, basements and attics. The victims were deprived of food, medical care and bathroom facilities until police discovered them. The woman reportedly used a total of six adults and four children in this way before getting caught.

She also beat her victims, sometimes hitting them with belts, sticks, bats, hammers, and a pistol, according to prosecutors. Two victims died under her “care.”

The vast majority of people who care for a severely disabled person are hardworking and honest, and would never think of exploiting someone in this way. But it is worth it for loved ones to remember that such things can happen.

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