A Compton woman who masqueraded as her dead mother to collect $151,450 in benefits while she was on probation in an earlier case was sentenced Monday to complete 75 hours of community service after the judge determined that her various medical problems would place an undue burden on the prison system if she were to be ordered behind bars.
Rosalind Mouton-Auberry, 68, pleaded guilty in July to federal fraud charges for impersonating her late mother for 11 years in order to collect survivor benefits stemming from her stepfather's employment with the U.S. Postal Service.
"She was not using the money to live an extravagant lifestyle," U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said from the bench. "She was just trying to survive."
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Along with two years of supervised release, to include mental health treatment, the judge sentenced Mouton-Auberry to a day in custody -- previously served -- and ordered her to pay back the stolen funds to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the retirement benefits.
Carney said that Mouton-Auberry could serve her community service at the church she attends.
The judge said the defendant had a rap sheet of 10 criminal convictions that were not counted toward the current sentence. She was convicted of fraud in state court in 2014 and was on probation in that case while defrauding the government out of the pension payments, he said.
Defense attorney Nadine Hettle told the court that her client suffers from "an over-developed sense of responsibility" toward her relatives which contributed to the long-running fraud.
"She was just trying to keep everyone together," Hettle said, adding that Mouton-Auberry used the stolen money to pay rent on the family home.
Carney said a custodial sentence would place an "undue burden" on the prison system due to Mouton-Auberry's medical issues.