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Bizarre Crime, No Further Time

A recluse accused of hiding his dead mother in a freezer so he could go on collecting her Social Security avoided federal prison time Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb sentenced Philip Schuth to serve four months but ordered him to do the time simultaneously with the seven years he already is serving in state prison.

Crabb said it wouldn't serve any useful purpose for Schuth to do more time.

At his sentencing in federal court in Madison, Schuth, 53, of the town of Campbell, launched into a speech partially in Latin.

Schuth pleaded guilty in April to one count of misusing a Social Security number to defraud the federal government of $35,690. The offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under federal sentencing guidelines he faced up to 14 months in prison.

Schuth already is serving a seven-year sentence in state prison in connection with a police standoff at his crumbling French Island home in April 2005. The standoff began after Schuth shot at a neighbor. Schuth eventually surrendered and told police his mother's body was in his basement chest freezer.

Crabb also ordered Schuth to repay the Social Security money.

Schuth's attorney, federal public defender Mike Lieberman, said most of the money already has been repaid. Police found about $10,000 in cash in Schuth's house and about $24,000 in his bank account.

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