PITTSBURGH – A Pittsburgh-area man collected more than $341,000 in federal railroad pension benefits on behalf of his father, even though his father died in 1985. Sixty-eight-year-old Richard Burns, of West Mifflin, will be sentenced Jan. 21 after pleading guilty Tuesday to theft of government funds.
Burns' father was collecting U.S. Railroad Retirement Board benefits when he died 25 years ago. Federal prosecutors said Burns continued to have the money deposited into a joint bank account he had with his father, because the federal pension board was never notified of the father's death.
Burns faces up to 10 years in prison though his sentence will be determined largely by federal guidelines that take into account his criminal history, if any, and other factors.