The Busan High Court rejected a sentence of 30 years in prison laid out by a lower court, delivering the defendant the maximum sentence allowed by law.
The man, who is identified only by his last name Park, was convicted of strangling his 64-year-old mother in a car in the southeastern city of Changwon in June 2009 and getting about 11 million won (around US$10,223) of her basic pension for seven years without reporting her death to authorities.
In August 2011, Park also strangled the 43-year-old woman who lived with him and threw her body into the sea in the same city after having a quarrel over his failure to give her living expenses, according to the ruling. The woman's body has yet to be found.
Park denied his intention of the murders during the trial of the lower court, arguing he committed the murders accidentally for economic reasons and appealed to have the sentence reduced.
The high court said, "Park, who was economically incompetent, murdered his mother and girlfriend intentionally in a sheer bid to take over his mother's small income and cut down on the burden of supporting his girlfriend."
"After the murders, he withdrew money from his mother's bank account and her basic pension while telling the girlfriend's family a lie that she was staying at a Buddhist temple to take care of her insomnia," it said. "His crimes do not have any room for leniency. His criminal responsibility is tremendous." Yonhap.