Upstate woman admits cancer scam; hiding body

Alicia Kelly (Source: Greenwood County Sheriff's Office)
Alicia Kelly (Source: Greenwood County Sheriff's Office)

GREENWOOD COUNTY, SC (WYFF) A woman who used a made-up story about her daughter having cancer to scam money and who swindled the benefit checks of her mummified grandfather has been sentenced after pleading guilty to multiple charges.

Alicia Kelly pleaded guilty Wednesday to abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, destruction or desecration of human remains, child abuse or neglect, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of swindling.

A charge of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult was dropped because it was determined that Kelly's grandfather, Theron "Pete" Lunny, died of natural causes.

Lunny's mummified body was found in a camper off Highway 34. He had been dead for two years before his body was found in February 2011.

Greenwood County sheriff's investigators said when they analyzed the finances of Kelly and her husband, Steven, they discovered the couple had been cashing Lunny's Social Security checks.

The swindling was uncovered due to an investigation into Alicia and Steven Kelly asking people in the community for financial help for their 15-year-old daughter who they said was being treated for cancer.

Investigators said Alicia Kelly gave them a list of people who were sympathetic to the family's situation and had donated money and goods. According to deputies, one person had given $100 in cash and a laptop computer valued at approximately $400 in Aug. or Sept. 2010.

The couple even set up a website to solicit donations, investigators said.Alicia Kelly was sentenced to a total of ten years suspended to three years for all the charges, including time served since her incarceration in Feb. 2011.

Kelly will be held at a state correctional facility and eligible for release as early as February 2014.

Steven Kelly has not yet been tried on identical charges.

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