CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Jackson County man who kept cashing his dead uncle’s Social Security checks was sentenced to five years probation by a federal judge Wednesday.
Michael W. Smith, 36, of Sandyville, pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing government benefits. Smith began receiving monthly SSI checks on behalf of his uncle in Oct. 2008 as his representative. The uncle died in April 2009 but Smith kept getting the money. He did so until July 2010.
U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver could have sent Smith to prison Wednesday but opted for probation. The judge ordered him to pay back the $10,110 he received after his uncle died.