Linda Weston bilked the adults in her care out of thousands in Social Security funds

By Chris Harris
Updated November 05, 2015 06:55 PM
Credit: AP

A Philadelphia woman who pleaded guilty to keeping mentally disabled adults locked in dark basements, attics and closets in homes located in four states will spend the rest of her life in prison.

On Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Linda Weston to serve life plus 80 years, according to a statement from Department of Justice spokesman David Jacobs. In September, Weston, 55, pleaded guilty to 196 charges against her, including murder.

According to the statement, Weston served as a caretaker for several disabled adults between 2001 and her arrest in 2011. Weston was detained after her landlord discovered a man chained to a boiler during a property inspection and called Philadelphia police. Two women in her care died.

Charging documents said Weston used “cunning, trickery, force and coercion” to illegally fleece her captives of more than $200,000 in Social Security payments.

Weston also admitted to physically forcing one of the disabled individuals into authorizing her as a Social Security payee, the DOJ statement says.

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Among the charges to which Weston pleaded guilty in September were racketeering conspiracy, kidnapping resulting in the death of the victim, forced human labor, involuntary servitude, multiple counts of murder in aid of racketeering, hate crime, violent crime in aid of racketeering, sex trafficking, kidnapping, theft of government funds, wire fraud, mail fraud, use of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime and false statements.

At her sentencing Thursday, she was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $273,463.

Weston was arrested along with four other individuals who allegedly collaborated with Weston on the scheme in homes in Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Florida, the statement from Jacobs reads. Two of Weston’s co-defendants – her daughter, Jean McIntosh, and a man named Eddie Wright – have already pleaded guilty. Two others, Gregory Thomas Sr. and Nicklaus Woodard, are still awaiting trial.

“While confined, the captives were often isolated in the dark and sedated with drugs that Weston and other defendants placed in their food and drink,” the statement from Jacobs reads.

“When the individuals tried to escape, stole food or otherwise protested their treatment, Weston and others punished them by slapping, punching, kicking, stabbing, burning and hitting them with closed hands, belts, sticks, bats and hammers or other objects, including the butt of a pistol. Some victims endured the abuse for years.”

The statement further claims that in 2005, one woman in Weston’s care who wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom died in her Philadelphia home’s basement. According to the complaint, Weston then ordered the adults at the home to move the body out of the basement before calling the police.

Another woman died in the Virginia home in 2008 after being “beaten when she tried to escape or when she begged for food and never received medical attention for any of her injuries,” the statement says. The statement claims the woman was locked “inside a kitchen cabinet and an attic for several months and her body was also moved to a bedroom by Weston’s victims.”