By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal judge says a South Philadelphia couple who cheated Social Security for nearly 20 years are too sick to serve time in prison.

Michael and Maryann Acciavatti admitted stealing more than $150,000  — benefits intended for her grandmother, who died in 1991.

Today, like her husband before her, Maryann was sentenced to probation — although the judge added three months of house arrest for her because, the prosecution argued, she was more culpable.

As for her health, she’s had heart attacks and she suffers from cancer, COPD, respiratory failure, congestive heart failure, has a tracheal device, and on and on.

“I am just sorry for what I did,” she told the court.   “I was in a bad state of mind when I did it. And I wish to God I could go back and change things, but I can’t and I am sorry.”

Judge William Yohn says the crimes would have easily merited prison time but for the very serious medical problems the couple was dealing with.

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