A Sagadahoc County man who illegally collected more than $160,000 of his mother’s Social Security benefits after she died was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to serve six months in federal prison and to repay the money.

Robert Caton, 72, of Arrowsic also was sentenced by Judge Nancy Torresen to three years of supervised release to be served after completion of his prison term.

After Caton’s father, George Chamberlain, died in 1988, his mother, Helen Chamberlain, legally collected a survivor’s benefit from her husband’s account. But after her death in 2000, Caton illegally took the payments for himself, according to a prosecution document filed with the court.

“What the Social Security Administration had no record of was that Helen died in September 2000. As a result, the benefits from George’s account were mistakenly paid by SSA to Helen for 14 years following her death via direct deposit to Helen’s Bank of America checking account,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Conley wrote in the prosecution document.

In total, the SSA deposited $162,786 in the checking account, held jointly with Caton. Caton used all but about $15,000 of that money on personal expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Caton also failed to disclose the overpayments during his own divorce proceedings and never made his former wife aware that he was receiving his mother’s benefits, Conley wrote.

Caton had pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud on Jan. 6.

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