4 Dallas-area relatives accused of faking mental illness

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Thursday, October 1, 2015
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A judge's gavel inside a courtroom.
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DALLAS, TX -- Prosecutors say four North Texas relatives have been accused of faking mental illness to get government benefits in a scam since 1978.

Doreen Mitchell, her two sons and her cousin face detention hearings Friday in Dallas.

The 55-year-old mother, 29-year-old Michael Mitchell, 27-year-old Sonny Mitchell and 58-year-old John Mitchell, also known as Patrick Rena, were arrested this week.

A complaint says the Arlington residents are charged with conspiracy to defraud the Social Security Administration of nearly $462,000. Doreen Mitchell began receiving benefits in November 1978.

Records show officers followed Doreen Mitchell in 2014 as she drove, shopped and scrolled through her cellphone. She attended a benefits revocation hearing days later and mumbled, appeared disheveled and said she couldn't leave the house alone.

Court records don't list attorneys for the Mitchells.