Two Defendants Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding Social Security in Separate Unrelated Cases

Date: 
Monday, February 27, 2012
Office Affiliation: 

Two unrelated defendants were sentenced recently to federal prison for defrauding the Social Security Administration, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Wilbert Craig announced. The defendants, Kimberly Stenerson and Stephanie Sanchez were sentenced to serve federal prison time for their similar but unrelated crimes.

Kimberly Ann Stenerson, age 61, formerly of Steamboat, Colorado, and currently a resident of Mankato, Kansas, was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day in federal prison for making a false statement to the Social Security Administration. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration. Stenerson’s mentally disadvantaged 92 year-old aunt has been entitled to Social Security benefits for a long time due to lifelong disabilities. In July 1999, Stenerson placed her aunt in a nursing home in Mexico. In February 2002, Stenerson became the representative payee for her aunt’s benefits after applying with the Social Security Administration. To be chosen as the representative payee, Stenerson falsely represented that her aunt lived in California and that she called to check on her aunt every week. Stenerson also agreed to use her aunt’s benefits for her aunt’s needs and to notify the Social Security Administration if her aunt changed her living arrangements or if Stenerson no longer had responsibility for her aunt’s welfare. Despite her promises, Stenerson failed to use all of her aunt’s benefits for her aunt or for the nursing home that cared for her aunt. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Stenerson submitted accounting reports to the Social Security Administration, on which she falsely told the Social Security Administration she used her aunt’s benefits for her aunt. In August 2009, a Social Security Administration employee called and spoke to Stenerson about her aunt and Stenerson finally admitted she had not visited her aunt since 2002 and had not used aunt’s benefits properly. In August 2009, the Mother Superior in charge of the nursing home where the defendant’s aunt lived, filed an application with the Social Security Administration requesting that she be selected as the representative payee for the aunt’s benefits. When Stenerson discovered this, she contacted a Social Security Administration office in Colorado, and falsely reported that her aunt was visiting relatives in Mexico for a few months and was scheduled to be back in Colorado in a few days and someone in Mexico was trying to fraudulently gain control of her benefits.

Stephanie Sanchez, age 38, of Metro Denver, Colorado, was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison for making a false statement to the Social Security Administration to obtain $16,562 in benefits that should have been paid to her children and their fathers. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration.

In July 2008, Ms. Sanchez applied to the Social Security Administration for Social Security Child’s Insurance Benefits for two of her minor children. At the same time, Sanchez applied to be the representative payee for each child’s benefits. In doing this, Sanchez falsely stated that her children lived with her, when, in fact, neither child lived with her at any relevant time. Also, in applying to be representative payee, Sanchez agreed she would use all payments made to her for each child’s current needs or save them for each child’s future needs. On July 15, 2008, the Social Security Administration mailed two checks, each in the amount of $8,281, to Sanchez; one for each child. On January 26, 2010, federal agents determined that Sanchez had not lived with her children and that when she applied to be representative payee for them, she intentionally lied to the Social Security Administration when she stated they lived with her. Agents found out that Sanchez received the two Social Security checks and spent all of her children’s money on herself.

“The Social Security Administration entrusted these defendants to care for those who couldn’t care for themselves,” said Wilbert Craig, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General. “The defendants’ selfish actions deprive the person in need of the assistance, instead providing money to another who is undeserving. We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the aggressive prosecution that led to this successful resolution.”

Both cases were investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.

Stenerson and Sanchez were prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Kelley.