Millionaire sentenced for defrauding government } Former Bellevue resident lied about mother's death to collect her Social Security



A Taco Bell franchise owner was sentenced to six months in federal prison Monday and ordered to pay back nearly $200,000 in Social Security benefits he collected for his mother, a recipient who should have stopped receiving those payments when she died more than 20 years ago.

Raymond C. O'Dell, formerly of Bellevue, was sentenced Monday (Jan. 13) in U.S. District Court for fraudulently collecting Social Security benefits for his deceased mother through a joint account since her death in 1989 and furthering the deception by providing false information to the government to keep the fraud going. O'Dell, 70, who now resides in Arizona, is reportedly worth $4 million and made his fortune through ownership of a number of Taco Bell franchises in the Seattle area.

The long-term fraud case ended in May 2012 after a Social Security Administration representative called O'Dell and asked to speak with his mother. The U.S. Attorney's Office reports O'Dell lied to the representative before contacting his own lawyer, who alerted the attorney's office.

On top of his six-month prison sentence, O'Dell will pay $188,436 in restitution, a $20,000 fine for theft of government funds and serve another six months under house arrest. O'Dell is also scheduled to enter a plea and be sentence later this week for fraudulently collecting $100,000 in pension benefits from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

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