After a strange set of events, the NFL has charged the daughter of John Helwig, a Chicago Bear player in the 1950s, with illegally collecting money from an NFL pension plan years after her father's death.
Constance Helwig-Langlois was charged Wednesday with fraud in Detroit.
Court documents show that Helwig's wife, Ruth, twice told officials that her husband had still been alive to keep receiving the checks. Ruth passed away in 2007, but the daughter kept the scheme going until 2011 when the league caught on.
Helwig died in 1994, and in the 17 years since his death, the payments added up to be about $200,000. Broken down, the daughter was collecting just less than $1,000 per week from the NFL.
It's actually a surprise move that the NFL is pressing charges as $200,000 for a league making billions of dollars is change. All the league would have to do is make sure the checks stop, and cut their losses. However, they'll likely pay more than the $200,000 sum in lawyer and court fees, and likely not get an adequate return.
The bigger issue at hand is just how much the pension is worth. The annual benefit for this player is less than $12,000 per year. Player salaries back then are nothing compared to what they are now, so it's easy to feel bad for the retired players if that's what they're trying to live off of.
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