Guilty plea in benefit thefts

January 04, 2007

A 45-year-old Ellicott City woman pleaded guilty in Baltimore's federal court yesterday to stealing $82,462 in Social Security benefits intended for her former neighbor.

Penny Banks stole the funds from a friend who once lived in her apartment complex, according to federal prosecutors. When the friend moved into a nursing home and later died, Banks cashed the checks, which still went to the friend's apartment, authorities said.

Banks faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison at her sentencing scheduled on April 20 before Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg.

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