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Press Release

Terlingua Woman Sentenced To Maximum Ten Years In Federal Prison For Collecting Deceased Father's Social Security Benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

In Pecos on Friday, United States District Judge Robert A. Junell sentenced a 49-year-old Terlingua, TX, woman to the statutory maximum of ten years in federal prison for stealing over $245,000 in Social Security benefits paid to her deceased father announced Robert Pitman, United States Attorney.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Junell ordered Judith Maria Broughton to pay restitution to the federal government in the amount of $245,226 and be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing her prison term.

On July 3, 2014, Broughton pleaded guilty to a one count Information charging her with willfully and knowingly stealing Social Security Administration Retirement Insurance Benefits.  By pleading guilty, Broughton admitted that she forged her father’s signature causing SSA benefits paid in the name of her father, Luther D. Broughton, to be electronically deposited into a joint checking account. From June 1990 to August 2011, she collected the funds deposited into the account even after his death.  Broughton further admitted to converting those monies to her own personal use.

According to court records, Luther Broughton died in June 1990 and the defendant leased a storage unit in Lexington, KY, to conceal his death.  A search of the storage unit on January 8, 2014, revealed the mummified remains of Luther D. Broughton as well as his personal belongings including an automobile.  Also, the defendant’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Broughton’s, Social Security benefits were being electronically deposited into a joint checking account with the defendant.  Mary Elizabeth Broughton’s whereabouts have not been determined and her SSA benefits have been suspended.

This case was investigated by special agents with the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General with assistance from the Brewster County Sheriff's Office and law enforcment in Lexington, KY.  Assistant United States Attorney James J. Miller, Jr. prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Updated December 15, 2014