EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A woman from Caseyville, Illinois, appeared in federal court Monday and admitted to cashing Social Security benefits for her dead mother for 12 years.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois said Darlene Rogers, 72, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds.

According to court documents, Rogers’ mother, Juanita Rich, collected Social Security benefits until her death in October 1997. The family didn’t report Rich’s death to the Social Security Administration. In October 2009, Rogers forged her mother’s signature to assume ownership of the bank account.

For the next 12 years, Rogers used checks payable to herself drawn from that account, in the exact amount of her dead mother’s monthly Social Security deposit.

The Social Security Administration eventually discovered Rich had died and launched an investigation into the payouts. Investigators determined the SSA deposited $128,656 into the bank account.

Rogers will be sentenced on May 23.

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct U.S. Attorney’s Office. We regret the error.)