April Mae Beckmon, 37, collected federal Supplemental Security Income payments for more than 20 years. She kept accepting the monthly payments after getting married in 2010, increasing her household income, according to federal court records.
On Wednesday, she was sentenced to six months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised probation.
“The defendant knew she needed to report her marriage and her spouse’s income to the Social Security Administration but she did not. She chose not to report her marriage or her spouse’s income because she did not want it to impact her SSI benefits,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Darci Ward wrote in a plea agreement filed in February.
Beckmon pleaded guilty that month in U.S. District Court in Boise to Social Security fraud. Two other counts, theft of government funds and making false statements relating to health care matters, were dismissed in exchange for her guilty plea.
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She had faced up to five years in prison.
Beckmon had received benefits since 1995. Prosecutors did not allege that she improperly received payments before her marriage. They said she collected $22,272 in improper benefits between January 2012 and May 2015. She has agreed to repay the money.
SSI benefits go to elderly people and blind and disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.
Beckmon’s criminal record dates back to 1997. She has prior convictions for passing insufficient funds checks, assault and battery on certain personnel, resisting and obstructing officers, assault and telephone harassment.
At the time she was arrested, she was on probation for a 2015 methamphetamine possession case out of Ada County.
While on pretrial release in the SSI case, she tested positive for methamphetamine. She initially denied using the drug but later admitted it after being confronted with the results of a drug test.