NEWBURYPORT ­­— A Newburyport man has pleaded guilty to stealing $169,000 from Social Security, by collecting benefits that were intended for his deceased mother.

John “Jay” Flaherty, 61, is required to pay back the money, and will be sentenced in October.

Court documents state that Flaherty’s mother, Eileen Flaherty of Woburn, died on June 3, 1999. She had been receiving widows benefits through the Social Security Administration. By law, survivors are required to contact the administration so that the benefit payments will stop.

But that didn’t happen in this case, and the Social Security Administration continued to deposit money into her account. A year later, the administration received a request to deposit the funds into a joint bank account held by Jay Flaherty and his mother. Over the course of the next 12 years, some $168,830 was deposited into the account.

Court documents don’t make clear how the administration discovered that Flaherty was fraudulently collecting benefits. The benefits were halted in August, 2012.

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