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Taco Bell Owner Stole Dead Mother's Benefits for 23 Years

Photo: Oneras

A Washington man who owns several outposts of the Taco Bell franchise was convicted of collecting his deceased mother's Social Security benefits for the past 23 years. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that 70-year-old Raymond O'Dell — who has an estimated net worth of $4 million from several Seattle-area fast-food franchises — was sentenced to six months in federal prison for fraud, after pocketing $100,000 worth of pension benefits and $100,000 in Social Security benefits in his late mother's name. (Helen O'Dell died in November 1989.)

The fraud was discovered in July 2012 after a Social Security "audit" (during which a Social Security employee asked to speak to Mrs. O'Dell). In addition to the six-month prison sentence, O'Dell must also pay $188,436 and a $20,000 fine, and he may be out much more than that, depending on how long he lives. Per the Seattle PI: "O'Dell will likely be unable to draw Social Security due to the fraud."

· Bellevue Taco Bell Owner Hid Mom's Death for Decades [Seattle PI]
· Taco Bell Franchisee Doesn't Tell Social Security About Mom [Consumerist]
· All Crime Coverage on Eater [-E-]