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Woman abused disabled, police say

Sizzling LEO | 4:56 AM | 0 comments

PHILADELPHIA — Federal prosecutors yesterday combined racketeering, murder and what they said were unprecedented hate-crime charges in a vast indictment against the woman accused of imprisoning mentally disabled adults in a basement so she could steal their benefit checks.

Linda Ann Weston, 52, charged along with four others, became the first person to be charged under a 2009 law that enhanced punishments for criminals who target the mentally disabled.

The 196-count indictment accuses Weston of racketeering, with murder among the underlying charges, for alleged crimes between 2001 and 2011. Weston is accused of neglect so severe that it killed two people, one in Virginia and another in Pennsylvania.

“ Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said.

Weston’s October 2011 arrest brought to light what authorities said was one of the most inhumane crimes in Philadelphia’s history.

For years, they say, she held hostage four mentally disabled adults and her own niece to collect their Social Security benefit checks. She allegedly shuffled them from state to state and kept them in a locked, dungeon-like basement with little food.

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