2 charged with stealing from dead relatives

Posted: March 07, 2013

A Philadelphia woman and a Phoenixville man have been charged with bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government by cashing benefit checks intended for their dead relatives, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The cases against Sophia Beltz and Lawrence Nicoletti were filed separately this week.

Beltz, 54, is charged with taking $172,000 in Social Security retirement funds deposited in her father's account since his death in 1997. Reached at her home Wednesday afternoon, Beltz declined to comment.

Nicoletti, 60, is accused of stealing $188,000 in retirement and Social Security benefits deposited in the bank account of his father-in-law, a former postal worker, after the man's death in 2005. There was no answer Wednesday at Nicoletti's home. - John P. Martin

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