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Crownpoint woman accused of defrauding government

Woman collected more than a half-million dollars
A Crownpoint woman failed to report her father’s 1996 death and continued to collect his Social Security benefits. (Associated Press file photo)

Criminal fraud charges were brought against a woman, who failed to report her father’s 1996 death.

The Farmington FBI investigated the case of Marylynn Harry, 63, of Crownpoint. She collected her dead father’s Social Security benefits for nearly 25 years, earning her more than a half-million dollars.

Harry, who pleaded guilty to the crime on Feb. 8, was sentenced to serve five years on unsupervised probation, and was ordered to pay $551,436 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

Harry’s father, Alfred Becenti, was receiving retirement insurance benefit payments from the Social Security Administration at the time of his death in October 1996.

Harry admitted that she made herself “the co-owner of the bank account the payments were deposited into and obtained numerous debit cards linked to the account,” courts records stated.

Harry also stated in the plea agreement that she concealed Becenti’s death from the bank and the Social Security Administration for 25 years, as money continued to be deposited into the account.

When the crime of fraud was discovered, she was confronted by the Social Security Office’s Inspector General and “quickly admitted wrongdoing,” according to court records.