ANDERSON, SC – The final chapter in the saga of Alicia Kelly came to a close today as she was sentenced to 10 months in prison by a federal judge in Anderson on Tuesday.
Kelly pleaded guilty to fraudulently cashing the social security checks of her grandfather, Therol “Pete” Lunny, in the amount of $18,315 after he died sometime in 2009. A federal judge sentenced her to 10 months in prison at the federal courthouse in Anderson. Kelly was given credit for time served beginning when she was placed into federal custody on November 28.
Kelly was arrested in February 2011 for soliciting funds from the Greenwood and surrounding communities under the guise that her oldest daughter had cancer. The ruse came unraveled when officials discovered that her daughter had never been prescribed any medication for the treatment of cancer.
During the investigation, officials discovered that Lunny was deceased and left in a trailer. Lunny’s body was almost completely decomposed and investigators estimated that he had been dead since 2009. During that time, Kelly continued cashing Lunny’s social security checks.
“This is a great day for the Lunny family,” said Sharon Lunny Henson, Lunny’s sister. “I am ecstatic. [Kelly] came in the courtroom with a smile on her face, but when she left that head was hanging down.”
“This definitely closes the book on a tough chapter,” said Dale Kittles, who had given several donations to the family after losing his 15-year-old daughter, Lauren, to cancer. “I hope that all of this changes her for the better. I hope she comes out of prison a changed person.
Kelly told the court that she was a changed person, at one point saying that being arrested saved her life as she had been contemplating suicide prior to her arrest. Kelly also told the court that she was trying to support her five children in committing her crimes.
It is unclear where Kelly will be incarcerated. The nearest federal women’s prisons are located in Tallahassee, FL, and Hopewell, VA.
Kelly’s husband, Steven Scott Kelly, was also charged with the crimes, but his case has yet to be tried. Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo confirmed that he has assigned the case to himself for prosecution, but said that he will need some time to evaluate the case before he can bring it before the court. Stumbo took office last Friday after being sworn in on Wednesday by Judge Frank Addy and again on Thursday before the Supreme Court.