Daughter And NFL Pension ‘Fraud’ Went On For 17 Years

The daughter of a former Chicago Bears player John Helwig has been cashing checks from his NFL pension plan years after her father’s death in 1994, earning more than $200,000 over 17 years.

Helwig played defense fro the Bears during the 1950s and was getting paid by the NFL since his retirement.

Constance Helwig-Langlois was charged Wednesday with fraud in Detroit.

Federal prosecutors say the NFL retirement plan kept sending checks to John Helwig’s Detroit-area address after his 1994 death. Court documents allege that Helwig’s wife, Ruth, twice told officials that her husband was still alive. Ruth died in 2007. The government says their daughter kept the scheme going until 2011.

In total, the erroneous payments added up to more than $200,000 over the course of 17 years.

John Helwig was born in Los Angeles, California and played football for Notre Dame before being drafted into the NFL. He played for the Bears for a total of four seasons according to the NFL, beginning in 1953, before he left the sport although no reason was listed for his departure.

Surprisingly, many people appeared to side with the daughter on the NFL blog, either because the NFL failed to notice their error or because the payments amounted to so “little.”

There’s also some controversy on the NFL Pension program because it doesn’t amount to much. Helwig’s retirement was an annual benefit of $11,764 per year, which isn’t much to live off of.

A number of former NFL players have complained about receiving low pensions in the past. Mike Webster, who made the Hall of Fame for the Pittsburgh Steelers, allegedly died broke and homeless.

However, the NFL did make the mistake by sending the pension checks long after Helwig’s death, but the daughter cashed them. That’s the point that prosecutors will try to make.

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