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Published March 05, 2012, 11:39 AM

ND man cashed $1M in dead father's pension checks

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Grand Forks man faces up to 10 years in prison for repeatedly lying to the federal government about his father's death over a 26-year period, which allowed him to pocket more than $1.2 million in pension checks.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Grand Forks man faces up to 10 years in prison for repeatedly lying to the federal government about his father's death over a 26-year period, which allowed him to pocket more than $1.2 million in pension checks.

Silas Lee McHenry Jr. is to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Fargo, N.D., after pleading guilty in October to a charge of theft of government property.

The Fargo Forum newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/wkK0NH ) that McHenry's father, Silas McHenry Sr., had worked for the federal government until his retirement, after which he began drawing pension payments. The elder McHenry eventually became disabled and appointed his son to take care of his affairs.

It was after the father's death in March 1983 that his son began a decades-long ruse to keep collecting the checks, officials said.

McHenry Jr. admitted in a plea agreement that he didn't notify the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that his father had died. On four occasions — in 1995, 1997, 2005 and 2009 — the son masked his father's death by responding to forms from the federal office saying his dad suffered advanced Alzheimer's disease.

McHenry Jr. also moved several times over the years, each time changing his father's address along with his own.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Schneider plans to recommend a sentence of four years and three months in prison, the Forum reported based on court documents. Schneider is also expected to ask that McHenry be ordered to pay back the $1.2 million.

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