Paragould Woman Pleads Guilty to Abuse of a Corpse and Social Security Fraud

JONESBORO, AR – Scott Ellington, District Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas, announces today that Gloria Tensley, 66, of Paragould pled guilty to abuse of a corpse and social security fraud. Tensley was sentenced to 3 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Tensley was arrested after a roommate found the skeletal remains of Clarence Shanowat at Tensley’s residence in Paragould. Evidence indicates Shanowat died of natural causes, but Tensley did not report his death so she could continue collecting his social security disability benefits for at least ten months following his death.

Judge Brent Davis sentenced Tensley to prison for 36 months following her plea of guilty to abuse of a corpse and two counts of social security fraud. The state withdrew prosecution of an additional eight counts of social security fraud in exchange for Tensley’s plea of guilty.

Ellington said, “I was shocked and dismayed to learn that this woman allowed Mr. Shanowat’s body to remain in their home and decompose just so she could collect his government benefits.” He went on to say, “I appreciate the good work of Paragould Police Department and Deputy Prosecutor Adam Butler for the professional way they handled this case.”

Press release

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