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Missouri man gets 5 months in death fraud case

A man who admitted burning his father’s body so the family could continue to cash his Social Security disability checks was sentenced to five months in prison and told to pay $133,000 in restitution.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man who admitted burning his father’s body a decade ago so the family could continue to cash his Social Security disability checks was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay $133,000 in restitution.

Kris McWilliams, 36, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

His mother, Betty Joanne McWilliams, 59, and sister Kimberly Ferguson, 39, have also pleaded guilty to theft of government funds charges and will be sentenced March 22. All three were indicted by a federal grand jury in October.

Larry McWilliams died of natural causes on Jan. 13, 1997, at the family home’s near Lewistown in northeast Missouri.

U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said the family burned McWilliams’ body to hide any evidence that he had died.

Betty McWilliams tended the fire to make sure no bones were left unburned, according to Hanaway. All three knew that Larry McWilliams’ Social Security benefits would stop if his death was reported.