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Prosecutors: Woman collected federal benefits for fictitious son

Federal prosecutors say a military widow has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for falsely claiming to have a son so she could collect more than $100,000 in veterans and Social Security benefits.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports a federal indictment accused 61-year-old Elizabeth Hayes Cox of stealing more than $68,000 in Social Security money and another $44,000 from the Department of Veterans Affairs between 2000 and 2017 on behalf of a fictitious son.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Cox had married a disabled veteran while he was in prison and presented a fraudulent birth certificate to receive payments for their made-up dependent child named Oliver.

U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle ordered Cox to report to federal prison by the end of February and pay $113,000 restitution.

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