Owner of mortuary where decaying bodies found enters plea

DALLAS (AP) - An owner of a Fort Worth mortuary business where decaying bodies were left unattended last summer has pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of illegally receiving federal benefits.

Federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Rachel Hardy pleaded Tuesday to food stamp benefit fraud. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

Authorities say she claimed on federal applications that she was a single parent with no income. But they say during that time she purchased three high-end vehicles, one of them a $53,000 Range Rover.

Hardy at the time was an owner of two businesses. One of them, Johnson Family Mortuary, closed in July due to nonpayment of rent.

Seven of the eight bodies found there were in advanced stages of decomposition.

Hardy and her husband face several charges in that case.

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