Sandyville, WV man admits must make restitution after admitting - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Sandyville, WV man admits must make restitution after admitting he cashed his late uncle's benefit checks

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A Jackson County man was sentenced to five years' probation after admitting he cashed government benefit checks to which he wasn't entitled.

Michael W. Smith, 36, of Sandyville also was ordered to repay $10,110 to the federal government, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Smith began receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits as representative payee for his uncle, James Conrad, in October 2008, Goodwin said. A representative payee is an individual who agrees to receive SSI benefits on behalf of the intended recipient.

Smith, however, continued to accept and cash benefits for more than a year after his uncle's death in May 2009. The payments from his uncle's death until July 2010 totaled $10,110.

Smith admitted his theft to agents of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG) in March.

The SSA OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution. Smith was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.