updated 7/20/2006 3:53:48 PM ET 2006-07-20T19:53:48

A man convicted of keeping his dead mother in a freezer for years so he could keep collecting her Social Security checks avoided federal prison during his sentencing Wednesday.

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A judge ordered Philip Schuth, 53, to serve four months simultaneously with the state prison sentence he is already serving and to repay about $35,000 he stole from the federal government.

Schuth pleaded guilty in April to a federal count of misusing a Social Security number.

He is serving a seven-year sentence as the result of a standoff with police last year at his home on French Island, just outside La Crosse. It was during the standoff that officers found the frozen body.

Schuth told investigators she died of natural causes in 2000, but he hid the body because he didn't want to be blamed for her death and wanted to keep collecting her Social Security.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Wednesday also ordered Schuth to spend four months in a halfway house after his release from prison.

Schuth's attorney, Mike Lieberman, said most of the money has been repaid after police found about $10,000 in his client's house and $24,000 in his bank account.

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