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4 Arlington Relatives Arrested, Accused Of Faking Mental Illness For $$

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Prosecutors say four North Texas relatives have been accused of faking mental illness to get government benefits in a scam since 1978.

Doreen Mitchell, her two sons and her cousin face detention hearings Friday in Dallas.

The 55-year-old mother, 29-year-old Michael Mitchell, 27-year-old Sonny Mitchell and 58-year-old John Mitchell, also known as Patrick Rena, were arrested this week.

A complaint says the Arlington residents are charged with conspiracy to defraud the Social Security Administration. Doreen Mitchell began receiving benefits in November 1978. According to court papers, over next 37 years SSA paid and continues to pay SSI benefits each month to Doreen Mitchell, Michael Mitchell and Sonny Mitchell.  As of the end of August, the SSA had paid some $461,913 in benefits to the three.

Records show officers followed Doreen Mitchell in 2014 as she drove, shopped and scrolled through her cellphone. She attended a benefits revocation hearing days later and mumbled, appeared disheveled and said she couldn't leave the house alone.

Court records don't list attorneys for the Mitchells. If convicted they face a maximum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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