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May 8, 2012 6:33 AM by AP

Woman charged in theft of late mother's benefits

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Gretna woman has been charged with fraudulently receiving more than $173,000 in Social Security Administration benefits intended for her late mother.

A court filing Monday charges 75-year-old Shirley Bunda with theft of government funds.

Federal prosecutors in New Orleans say Bunda, who shared a joint checking account with her mother, failed to inform the Social Security Administration that her mother died in 1998. Until last August, the agency continued to deposit her mother's monthly benefits into the account.

Bunda faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if she's convicted of the charge.

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