Woman Sentenced After Collecting Dead Grandmother's Social Security Checks as Her Remains Were Kept in Freezer

A woman in Pennsylvania was sentenced to jail time for accepting her grandmother's Social Security benefits while her remains were stored in a freezer.

Blank Social Security check at the U.S. Treasury printing facility.

Blank Social Security checks are run through a printer at the U.S. Treasury printing facility.

Blank Social Security check at the U.S. Treasury printing facility.

A Pennsylvania woman was sentenced last week to a maximum of 23 months in jail for receiving her grandmother’s Social Security checks as her remains were being kept in a freezer for 15 years, York Daily Record reports

In addition to the possibility of spending nearly two years behind bars, Cynthia Black, 63, received two years probation upon completion of her jail sentence on an abuse of a corpse charge. She was also charged with receiving stolen property and theft by deception.

According to PennLive.com, authorities were called to a foreclosed home in the borough of Dillsburg in Feb. 2019 after two potential buyers found black garbage bags containing skeletal remains inside a basement freezer. A DNA test confirmed that the remains were of Black’s grandmother Glenora Reckord Delahay. 

Black told police that Delahay, who was born in 1906, died in their Ardmore home in 2004. She stored her remains in the freezer, even after moving to the Dillsburg residence three years later. Police claim federal Social Security paid Delahay $186,000 from 2001 to 2010, a significant portion of which was used to cover the mortgage of the latter home. 

Prior to her sentencing, there was a debate between prosecutors and Black’s attorney over paying restitution for the Social Security money she pocketed. Since restitution against a federal agency cannot be collected in state court under Pennsylvania law, and any effort at the federal level would be met with a violation of the statute of limitations, she will not have to pay back anything. 

Black has been ordered to begin her sentence on July 15. 

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