The former co-owner of a Fort Worth mortuary was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in federal prison for one count of food stamp benefit fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Rachel Hardy, 36, of Mansfield was also ordered to pay $76,494 in restitution. She is scheduled to begin serving her sentence Aug. 4.
Hardy still faces state charges of abuse of a corpse and theft in an unrelated case involving the now-closed Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth.
Prosecutors said Hardy used cashier’s checks in 2011 to buy a $26,000 Hummer and a $41,700 Mercedes-Benz. That same year, she went to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission office in Dallas to sign up for federal food assistance and signed applications saying she was an unemployed single mother of five, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
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In 2012, she bought a Land Rover Range Rover with a $53,000 cashier’s check. Days later, she again told state aid officials that she was an unemployed single mother.
But federal investigators discovered that she had married Dondre Johnson, the father of her youngest child, in 2010. And she registered as the owner of two businesses about the same time she applied for federal aid, the release said. Johnson co-owned Johnson Family Mortuary and a tax-refund and estate-planning business called Mighty Dollar Tax in Arlington.
Hardy admitted that she failed to report her circumstances accurately and received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to which she was not entitled, according to the release.
Charges pending in state court accuse Hardy of seven counts of abuse of a corpse and one count of theft. Hardy and Johnson were arrested in 2014 after officials with the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office recovered decaying bodies from the mortuary.
If convicted of the theft charges, the husband and wife each face a maximum of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Each abuse-of-a-corpse charge is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail.