AP NEWS

Woman who stole dead father’s benefits gets probation term

May 15, 2019

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman who kept collecting her father’s social security, disability and pension benefits for more than 12 years after his death has been spared a prison term.

Sylvia Wilkerson was instead sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation. The 68-year-old Jersey City woman also must pay full restitution and perform 50 hours of community service.

The state attorney general’s office says Wilkerson stole about $272,000. She had pleaded guilty last year to theft by deception.

After Wilkerson’s father died in September 2004, his benefits continued to be direct-deposited into a bank account in his name. Wilkerson withdrew a significant majority of the benefit money and in 2006 changed the address on the account from her father’s address to her own home address.

Wilkerson also continued to submit required annual re-certification forms, forging her father’s name.