Millionaire Taco Bell Owner Convicted of Stealing Dead Mom's Benefits

A millionaire Taco Bell franchise owner was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday for stealing his dead mother's Social Security benefits for 23 years.

Raymond C. O'Dell, 70, was caught when a Social Security employee asked to speak to his mother. By that time, he'd collected about $200,000 from his mother's Social Security benefits and another $100,000 from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System in his mother's name. He's expected to plead guilty to the pension charges later this month.

"Social Security fraud cases often involve genuinely impoverished persons who steal to improve an otherwise desperate existence," Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Wilkinson said in court papers, according to SeattlePI. "While those circumstances do not excuse theft from social programs, they mitigate the crime.

"Here, however, (O'Dell) has had a lucrative business career as the owner of fast food restaurants and real estate."

O'Dell's accountant said O'Dell is worth more than $4 million, with about $431,000 in cash.

In addition to the six month sentence, O'Dell was ordered to pay $188,436 in restitution and a $20,000 fine.

[Image via AP]