Kansas Couple Cashed in on Man’s Retirement Benefits While Hiding His Body in Their Home for 6 Years

By: Georgia | Published: Jan 30, 2024

In Johnson County, Kansas, federal prosecutors have charged a couple with fraudulently collecting over $215,000 in retirement benefits.

The couple are accused of hiding the body of a dead relative, Mike Carroll, in their house for six years.

Mike Carroll's Story

The Kansas City Star reports that Mike Carroll, an 81-year-old retired telecommunications employee, lived with the couple while receiving pension and Social Security benefits since 2008.

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Shockingly, authorities revealed Carroll actually died in 2016, as indicated by his pacemaker’s records. Despite his death, prosecutors found that benefits continued to be deposited and spent from Carroll’s bank account

A Suspicious Death Unveiled

Carroll’s body was finally discovered when Carroll’s son-in-law, Kirk Ritter, called the police to report Carroll’s death on Oct. 23, 2022, per information from The Associated Press.

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The Overland Park police initially investigated the case as a suspicious death. The Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that Carroll died of natural causes.

Family Members Charged

The Kansas City Star reveals that the accused, Lynn Ritter, 61, and Kirk Ritter, 61, each face one count of wire fraud and two counts of theft of government funds, according to the felony information entered in the U.S. District of Kansas.

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Court records indicate they were issued summonses to appear in court on the charges the following month. Lynn Ritter is Carroll’s daughter, and Kirk Ritter is his son-in-law.

Concealing Death for Financial Gain

The prosecution alleges that the Ritters knowingly concealed Carroll’s death.

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Authorities claim that the couple continued to receive monetary benefits deposited into Carroll’s bank account and spent them after his death. His “mummified” body was eventually discovered in his Overland Park residence, as reported by The Kansas City Star.

Family's Shock: Denial of Contact

Carroll’s extended family expressed shock and confusion.

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His niece, Janet Carroll, from Iowa, told The Kansas City Star, “We were denied contact with him. And now we know why.” Family members were under the impression that Carroll was alive until his death was reported in 2022.

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Financial Dependency

Family members told The Kansas City Star that the Ritters moved into Carroll’s house in the 1990s.

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They were financially dependent on Carroll and served as his caretakers in his later years. Carroll’s granddaughter told The Kansas City Star, “I think they were very, very dependent on my grandfather’s retirement and his Social Security.”

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Tracking the Money Trail

Investigators found that monthly deposits were made to Carroll’s bank account from his pension and the Social Security Administration, amounting to $216,067 over six years, as per information from The Kansas City Star.

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Reviews of his bank records showed checks written from his account and cashed by Lynn and Kirk Ritter during this time.

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A Legal Battle Ahead for the Ritters

Prosecutors allege the pair concealed Carroll’s death to maintain access to his bank account for “their own personal benefit.”

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The Kansas City Star reveals it is not known what Lynn and Kirk Ritter’s occupations were at the time of Carroll’s passing, but his granddaughter believes the choice to keep him in the home was financially motivated.

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The Upcoming Court Date

The Associated Press reports that the case against Lynn and Kirk Ritter is set to progress with their scheduled initial court appearance on Feb. 2 at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas.

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The disturbing allegations, coupled with the discovery of Carroll’s body, have not only shocked the community but also raised pressing questions about the oversight of pension and Social Security benefits.

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A Community in Disbelief

The revelation of this case has caused a stir in the local community, with many expressing disbelief at the extent of the deception.

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The discovery of Carroll’s body and the subsequent charges against the Ritters have brought to light an extremely disturbing scenario.

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Chilling Tale of Deception and Loss

As this unsettling case unfolds, it brings to the forefront issues of trust, financial abuse, and the responsibilities surrounding the care of elderly family members.

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The community and Carroll’s extended family, who believed until recently that he was still alive, are now dealing with the harsh reality of the situation. Carroll’s granddaughter told The Kansas City Star, “You wouldn’t expect your own family to do that.”

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