Kansas Couple Charged with Fraudulently Collecting Deceased Relative’s Retirement Benefits and Hiding Body in Home for 6+ Years

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas – A Kansas couple is facing charges for allegedly collecting over $216,000 in retirement benefits from a deceased relative while concealing his body in their home for more than six years.

Lynn and Kirk Ritter, both 61, are accused of fraudulently cashing in on Michael Carroll’s pension and Social Security benefits, according to federal prosecutors. Carroll, a retired telecommunications employee, had been receiving retirement benefits since 2008, even though his pacemaker indicated that he had passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.

The grim discovery of Carroll’s mummified body in 2022 shocked authorities, leading to the indictment of the Ritters, who allegedly continued to use Carroll’s home as their residence without reporting his death to the authorities.

According to the indictment, the couple concealed Carroll’s death in order to keep accessing his bank account and receiving his benefits. They now face charges of wire fraud and theft of government funds.

Family members revealed that the Ritters had been financially dependent on Carroll and had been living with him since the 1990s. They continued to give excuses to other relatives about why Carroll could not be contacted or visited, leading them to believe that he was still alive.

In response to Kirk Ritter’s report of Carroll’s death in 2022, law enforcement discovered the shocking truth about Carroll’s demise and estimated that he had passed away in 2016. The Ritters, who were not entitled to Carroll’s benefits, allegedly diverted funds from his account for personal use.

The case was initially investigated as a suspicious death, but the medical examiner later confirmed that Carroll had died of natural causes. The tragic situation has left many unanswered questions and highlighted the need for vigilance in monitoring the welfare of vulnerable individuals.