A judge in West Virginia has sentenced a man and woman from South Carolina to prison for theft of checks that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission sent to a dead woman.

Georgetown, South Carolina resident 42-year-old Kevin Sexton and 60-year-old Harriet Miller, also of Georgetown, both entered guilty pleas to allegations of illegally taking checks that had been sent to the widow of a former West Virginia miner. The pair was married during the 15-year period in which they stole the benefits.

Sexton and Miller were sentenced by Kanawha County, West Virginia Circuit Judge James Stucky to 1-10 years. They were also ordered to repay $210,077 to the state of West Virginia.

The couple had been stealing benefit checks intended for Hazel Allen, a former resident of Kanawha County who moved to South Carolina. After her husband’s death in a mine in 1941, Allen was awarded lifetime payments.

Allen died in 1987, but Sexton and Miller, who were her neighbors, kept taking her checks and forging forms that they sent back to West Virginia in order to conceal the fact that she had died. At one point, Miller even called the Workers’ Comp office, posing as Allen, to complain of checks not arriving on time.

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