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Press Release

Broward Resident Sentenced for Stealing Social Security Benefits of Deceased Father

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – Terri Lynn Hankerson, 59, of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida has been sentenced to five months of imprisonment followed by five months of home confinement for stealing nearly $50,000 in Social Security benefits directed to her deceased father.  Hankerson must also pay restitution.

Hankerson’s father received Social Security benefits by direct deposit into a retirement account.  Hankerson was made a joint owner of this account about a year and a half before her father died in June 2016.  Hankerson did not notify the Social Security Administration or the bank of her father’s death.  Therefore, the Social Security Administration continued to make the monthly deposits, including cost of living adjustments, from July 2016 until it suspended the benefits in February 2020.  

Following her father’s death, Hankerson, spent nearly $50,000 in Social Security benefits at concerts, a local strip club, Miami Heat games, Costco, hotels, bars, and other places. 

After a four-day trial, a federal jury convicted Hankerson of stealing Social Security benefits years after her father died. 

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Rodregas W. Owens of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG), Atlanta Field Division, announced the sentence imposed by Senior United States District Court Judge James I. Cohn.

SSA OIG investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Thompson and then-Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jodi Raft prosecuted the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Annika Miranda is handling asset forfeiture.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at, under case number 22-cr-60227. 



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated March 8, 2023

Financial Fraud