An Erie woman has been sentenced for stealing $128,000 from her deceased father's Social Security benefits

Erie resident Loraleigh Helen Barber became dependent on her father's Social Security 

Disability insurance benefits after his death in December 2006.

Over a decade passed before the dependency ended.

Barber, her father's designated payee while he was alive, failed to report her father's death to Social Security.

Her father was visiting family in the Catskills, she told investigators.

Until 2019, Barber collected the benefits for 12 years. A total of $127,636 was spent on them.

In addition to paying back the money, she must spend a year and a day in federal prison and serve two years of supervised release.

In federal court in Erie on Wednesday, Judge Susan Paradise Baxter sentenced Barber, 52,

For theft of government property he pleaded guilty to in January.

Her lifelong struggles with mental health issues and substance abuse led Barber to request probation.

Barber apologized to Baxter for his actions. As a result of financial and mental hardships, I became dependent on it."

Barber's problems were acknowledged by Baxter, but she also acknowledged the high loss amount in the case.

Under the recommended federal sentencing guidelines, Barber faced a sentence of a year and 

Three months to a year and nine months in prison. Guidelines consider a defendant's guilty plea, 

Prior record, and other factors. According to the defense's sentencing memorandum, Barber had a DUI from 2006.

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