Woman gets two years in federal prison for concealing corpse, stealing benefits

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A Herkimer County woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for concealing a corpse and taking his retirement benefits.

TammyLynn S. Barthelmess, 62, of Little Falls, was sentenced in Federal Court in Syracuse on Aug. 5 to 24 months in prison and was ordered to pay $110,910 in restitution on charges of conspiracy to steal government funds and three counts of bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Authorities said Barthelmess concealed the death of her tenant, Donald Wichelns, after he died in her home in 2006. Between 2009 and 2013, along with her daughter, authorities said Barthelmess kept the death a secret while using Wichelns' bank account to access his Social Security deposts. Authorities said Barthelmess wrote hundreds of checks from Wichelns' account.

In May 2013, authorities said the body was found decomposing inside a dog crate behind an unoccupied residence owned by Barthelmess.

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