Woman gets prison for social security theft


A woman who collected disability for her husband while he was locked up for robbery received a 21-month federal prison sentence from a federal judge in Texarkana Wednesday.

Meekesha Tarsha Mitchell, 39, received disability benefits on behalf of her husband for years while he was serving time for a Little River County, Ark., robbery. Mitchell’s husband was in Arkansas Department of Correction custody from 2008 until 2013.

Mitchell plead guilty to theft of government property in July. Wednesday she was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $31,920.62 in restitution.

Mitchell’s lawyer, Craig Henry of Texarkana, asked U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder to consider Mitchell’s children and health concerns when assessing punishment. But U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker argued that Mitchell’s current trouble brings her number of prior convictions for theft to four and pointed out that Mitchell’s misconduct spanned years.

Federal sentencing guidelines, which calculate a range of punishment based on a defendant’s current offense and prior criminal history, gave Mitchell a range of 15 to 21 months. Schroeder sentenced Mitchell at the high end.

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