A Little Falls woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after guilty pleas to Conspiracy to Steal Government Funds and three counts of Bank Fraud.

62-year-old TammyLynn Sterling Barthelmess made the guilty pleas back in February when she admitted to conspiring with her daughter to conceal the death of her tenant for financial gain.

As part of her plea, Barthelmess admitted that she conspired with her daughter, Shannon Hardy Sekel, to conceal the death of her tenant at a home in Little Falls from 2009 to 2013. The body remained in a crate in the rear of the home until it was discovered in an advanced decomposed state.

During the course of those years, Barthelmess and her daughter would write checks from the checking account of the deceased tenant, where Social Security payments were being deposited into. Those payments stopped upon the discovery of the man’s body in 2013.

As a further part of her previous guilty plea, Barthelmess admitted to making false statements to New York State Police Investigators who interviewed her after the man’s skeletal remains were located and reported.

Bathelmess will face three years of supervised release after completing her prison term and has been ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) in the amount of $110,910.00.

This case was investigated by the United States Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, the New York State Police, and the City of Little Falls Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tamara B. Thomson and Richard R. Southwick, with assistance from the Herkimer County District Attorney’ Office.