A 66-year-old Canton woman has been sentenced to three years’ probation after pleading guilty to one count of theft of government money, admitting she stole her dead mother’s Social Security checks for 20 years.

Dyann Ramo was given the sentence, which includes spending the first year of probation on home confinement, completing 200 hours of community service and paying $196,067, along with a $100 special assessment.

“Ramo went to great lengths to conceal her theft and enjoy the benefits to which she was not entitled,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in a prepared statement. “She continued her deception until she was indicted by a grand jury. Only then did she finally own up to her graft.”

According to Pak, the charges and other information presented in court, Ramo’s mother Virginia died in 1999. No one reported her death to Social Security and her retirement benefits continued to be paid. In 2013, 2014 and three different times in 2018, Social Security employees attempted to confirm whether Virginia Ramo was alive, and each time, Dyann Ramo insisted that her mother was alive.

In an attempt to maintain her fraud, she claimed a Georgia death certificate in her mother’s name was a “mistake,” and even impersonated her mother on the phone on two separate occasions. Ramo finally admitted that her mother was deceased after she was indicted by a federal grand jury.

“Concealing a death to improperly receive Social Security benefits is a federal crime — one that we aggressively pursue to maintain the public trust in Social Security’s vital programs,” Social Security Administration Inspector General Gail S. Ennis said in a statement. “We work closely with SSA and other agencies to identify beneficiary deaths and track benefits paid after death. I greatly appreciate the support of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pursue justice and recover stolen funds in these cases.”

The Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration investigated the case, while Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane C. Schulman prosecuted the case, with Ramo pleading guilty on May 22.

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