May 8, 2009 / 3:00 PM / 8 years ago

Woman who kept mom's body and benefits charged

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida woman has been indicted for keeping her dead mother’s body in a bedroom for six years while collecting more than $200,000 in pension benefits, U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday.

Penelope Sharon Jordan of Sebastian, Florida, was charged by a federal grand jury last week with Social Security fraud and theft, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami said.

Police found the decaying body of her mother, Timmie Jordan, on a bed in a spare bedroom at the mother’s home in late March, when they were called to investigate a report of nuisance cats.

Penelope Jordan told police her mother had died in 2003.

The indictment alleged Jordan concealed her mother’s death in order to receive both her U.S. Social Security benefits and her military survivor’s benefit.

Jordan collected $61,415 from Social Security and $176,461 from the military pension during the six years, prosecutors said.

She could face up to 15 years in prison.

Local media reported that the 61-year-old woman told police her mother died of old age and she kept the remains because she couldn’t afford burial expenses. An autopsy found no signs of foul play.

According to a local paper, police found many cats on Jordan’s property but she denied they were hers.

Reporting by Jim Loney, editing by Jane Sutton and Sandra Maler

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