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.

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  • CaptainQ

    And if someone investigated this further, you'd probably discover that Michael Smith's deceased uncle has still been voting a straight Democratic Party ballot in every Primary and General election since his death.

    The SSI officials should NEVER depend on current Voter Registration rolls in WV to determine whether people are alive or not.

  • Brian

    I'm with voter below. How stupid is our federal government to keep paying the deceased? I guess the answer is the same way the tax the dead and also have them vote on Election Day.

  • Joe

    What a loser.

  • Voter

    I thought that most funeral homes were supposed to contact SSA to stop payments on deceased people. When my father in law died they insisted they take care of it. I really dislike people that steal my tax dollars.

    • John

      Then you don't like politicians!