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Family cashed pension checks for 17 years after NFL player died


John Helwig was an NFL player who spent four seasons with the Bears in the 1950s. He died in 1994. But his NFL pension checks kept coming.

Helwig’s wife kept cashing the checks for 13 more years, until she died in 2007. Then his daughter took up the scam, cashing the checks for another four years until she was caught in 2011.

Now the daughter, Constance Helwig-Langlois, is set to be sentenced today after pleading guilty to fraud. She admits that she forged her father’s signature and collected about $70,000 from an NFL pension plan, the Associated Press reports. The total fraudulently taken from the pension fund by Helwig’s wife and daughter reportedly tops $200,000.

Helwig-Langlois is not expected to serve any prison time. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of probation and six months in a halfway house.

Helwig (pictured wearing No. 80 at right) played his college football at Notre Dame and was an 11th round pick in the 1950 NFL draft.