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Social Security fraud: Grandmother claimed fake son

Social Security recipient paid someone to pose as her son for 20 years so she could get $120,000 in Social Security disability.

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This February 2005 file photo shows trays of printed Social Security checks waiting to be mailed from the US Treasury. A grandmother pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud, saying she needed the money to raise her grandchildren.

Bradley C. Bower/AP/File

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A Detroit woman claims she committed Social Security fraud – that authorities say brought in nearly $120,000 – because she needed money to raise her grandchildren.

The Detroit Free Press reports that 67-year-old Mary Alice Austin faces prison time when sentenced Friday, in U.S. District Court in Detroit, after pleading guilty to fraud in the case.

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Court records show she paid someone to pose as her son for 20 years while he was in prison so she could continue receiving his disability benefits.

Under a plea agreement, Austin faces 10 to 16 months behind bars. Defense lawyer Natasha Webster has pleaded for leniency, asking for home confinement instead of prison.

Prosecutors say Austin broke the law and should face prison time.

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