A Texarkana woman plead guilty Wednesday to spending disability benefits meant for her mother for nearly two years after the mother’s death.
Tamika Burks’ mother, Gale Sanders, was receiving social security disability when she died in March 2012. Instead of notifying the Social Security Administration of the death, Burks used the government funds deposited monthly to a debit card for her own expenses.
“I spent the money at Walmart and had my DirectTV satellite television bill withdrawn directly from the Direct Express card,” Burks’ plea documents state. “I knew I was not entitled to my deceased mother’s SSA benefits but I nevertheless used the money for my own personal benefit with no intent to benefit my mother, her estate or the government.”
Burks’ theft of $21,385.70 was discovered by the Social Security Administration in February 2014, nearly two years after her mother passed away. In August 2014, Burks admitted her wrongdoing to SSA Special Agent Wayne Warren.
Burks plead guilty to theft of government property at a change of plea hearing Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. She is represented by Texarkana attorney John Stroud.
Burks will return to court for sentencing in a couple of months and will have to pay back the money. Craven agreed Wednesday to allow Burks to remain free on the $5,000 unsecured bond set at her arraignment in June.
At sentencing, Burks faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both.