A Kansas couple has been charged with hiding the dead body of a parent in their house for six years in a scheme to collect more than $215,000 in retirement benefits, prosecutors announced this week.
Lynn Ritter and Kirk Ritter, both 61, are accused of spending pension and Social Security payments from the bank account of Lynn’s dead father, Mike Carroll.
Carroll, a retired telecommunications employee, began receiving the benefits in 2008, though prosecutors say his pacemaker indicated he died in 2016. The married couple — who lived with Carroll in a home he owned in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City — failed to report his death and continued to collect the funds deposited into his account.
The alleged scheme only ended on Oct. 23, 2022, when Kirk decided to call the cops to report his father-in-law’s death, according to a police report obtained by the Kansas City Star.
When officers arrived at the single-family home, they found Carroll’s body lying on a bed in a “mummified state.”
The Johnson County Medical Examiner determined he died of natural causes.
For years, extended family members were led to believe Carroll was still alive. Last year, his niece told the Star the Ritters kept making excuses as to why Carroll could never take a phone call or visit.
Overland Park police confirmed to local TV station KSN that the Ritters were being investigated last year. The investigation was likely related to the fraudulent cashing of a dead person’s checks.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors alleged the Ritters concealed Carroll’s death to keep cashing in on his retirement, which amounted to $216,067 over six years.
They are scheduled to appear at the federal courthouse in Kansas City on Feb. 2.