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Detroit — A judge has rejected a prison sentence for a Detroit-area man who collected roughly $253,000 over 17 years after failing to report his father’s death to the Social Security Administration.

Federal prosecutors asked for 18 months in prison for Claude Hopkins. But Judge David Lawson on Wednesday ordered probation and put Hopkins in a halfway house for six months, which would allow him to work during the day.

Hopkins had forged his father’s signature on dozens of checks drawn off a bank account. The account held his late father’s improper Social Security payments.

Hopkins admits he pretended his father was still alive and out of town when the government initially contacted him.

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