Grandma sentenced for taking granddaughter’s benefits

Julia Simmons' daughter Rhonda Casto died in a fall from a cliff in 2009

A gavel in an Oregon courtroom (KOIN, file)
A gavel in an Oregon courtroom (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon woman has been sentenced for taking thousands of dollars’ worth of social security benefits meant for her granddaughter after the girl’s mother died.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 53-year-old Julia Simmons will serve 30 days in a halfway house and three years of probation. She pleaded guilty to theft of government funds. Simmons was also order to pay back the nearly $40,000 of stolen benefits.

Simmons’ granddaughter lost her mother Rhonda Casto after she fell off a cliff during a hiking trip in 2009. After Casto’s death, Simmons submitted a Social Security survivor benefits application on behalf of her granddaughter. Prosecutors say Simmons claimed the money for more than five years.

Simmons has apologized and says she deeply regrets what she did.