After a 76-year-old lady from Ohio acknowledged to stealing nearly 50 years' worth of benefits checks from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the name of her long-deceased mother, a federal judge gave her probation but no jail time.

Gladys Queen was entitled for the benefits as the widow of an Army veteran of World War II, but the payments were supposed to stop when she died in 1973. Irene Ferrin, her daughter, did not inform her mother's death and spent the following decades impersonating her to continue receiving VA benefits.

In order to continue the theft from 1982 until 2017, she also submitted false documents. In August 2022, she entered a guilty plea to misappropriation of public funds. Through 2021, she made $461,780.35 before agents knocked on her door and exposed the scam. Ferrin's public defense, Karen Savir, attributed the swindle to the lack of women's options in the 1970s.

She claimed that after her mother died, Ferrin took in her three younger siblings and was taking care of three children from her own marriages. Ferrin's "abusive spouse" from her second marriage, according to Ms. Savir, instructed her to cash the checks, reports washingtontimes.

"For nearly 50 years, the defendant stole from the military veterans of this country and now, at this time of her life, is facing a criminal sentence,” said Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “That’s not a legacy you want to leave for your loved ones." 

"Fraudulently obtaining benefits from the VA diverts valuable resources intended for deserving veterans and their families," said Special Agent in Charge Greg Billingsley with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Central Field Office. "The VA OIG appreciates the support of the US Attorney’s Office for their efforts to achieve justice in this case," reports msn.

According to a news release on Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, Ferrin has been ordered to repay $461,780 that she illegally took from the Veterans Administration to the VA, and was sentenced to five years of probation, including one year of home detention.

court Irene Ferrin, 76, of Cincinnati, was sentenced to five years of probation, including a year of home detention. Ferrin was also ordered to repay $461,780. Representational Image/Blimmigration