Shawnta Carmon, 32, and Hassan Carmon, 34, of Allentown, were charged with offenses including theft by deception and conspiracy for what officials described as repeated dupings of Marlene "Linny" Fowler.
The daughter of a onetime UPS chief executive, Fowler died on Feb. 4 at age 73 while a grand jury was investigating the alleged scheme.
Over the course of four years, the Carmons successfully sought about $1.1 million of Fowler's money for alleged hardships such as dental work, a heart transplant for a sick child, and college tuition for their niece, authorities said.
None of the stories were true, according to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. The couple actually spent the funds on clothes, jewelry, limousine rides and gambling, he said.
"Unfortunately, Mrs. Fowler was very generous, and word got around that she was a soft touch for hard-luck stories," Morganelli told The Associated Press.
Morganelli said he wasn't sure how the Carmons met Fowler. But the heiress was well known for philanthropy in the Lehigh Valley, where she had lived for decades.
The grand jury recommended the charges on Feb. 7; authorities delayed action until after Fowler's funeral.
The Carmons were unable to post bail after their arraignments Friday in Bethlehem.