A couple living in a Kansas City suburb have been arrested on allegations they kept a dead parent’s body hidden in their home for more than six years so they could continue to cash in on his retirement benefits.
Federal prosecutors alleged Wednesday that Lynn and Kirk Ritter, both 61, collected approximately $215,000 worth of benefits that were reserved for 81-year-old Mike Carroll, a retired telecommunications employee who began receiving money from the Social Security Administration and his pension in 2008.
In an indictment obtained by The Daily Beast, prosecutors said Carroll’s pacemaker revealed that he died in 2016, but his death was never reported to authorities. The document cited Lynn as being his primary caretaker.
Instead, prosecutors claim his loved ones collected money deposited into his bank account and spent it as their own. This alleged scheme went on for more than six years, until Kirk Ritter called police on Oct. 23, 2022, to report his father-in-law’s death.
Officers arrived at the single-family home and found Carroll’s body lying in bed in a “mummified state,” the indictment said. The Kansas City Star reported that the local medical examiner determined Carroll died of natural causes, but a probe was launched.
Further investigation revealed that Carroll had been dead since around July 1, 2016, prosecutors said. An investigation allegedly revealed that Carroll’s daughter and son-in-law cut checks to themselves from his bank account, actions prosecutors wrote were for “their own personal benefit.”
The couple faces charges of wire fraud and theft of government funds, which could send them to prison for as many as 20 years if convicted. They’re slated to appear for an initial appearance at a federal courthouse in Kansas City on Feb. 2.