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Former California Woman Pleads Guilty to $148,000 Deceased Payee Fraud

November 05, 2014

Office Affiliation: The Office of Investigations

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California:

FRESNO, Calif. — Rosaura M. Tinajero, 57, of Omaha, Nebraska, formerly of Wasco, California, pleaded guilty today to theft of Social Security benefits, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today.

According to court documents, Tinajero’s mother, a Social Security benefits recipient died in 1987. The Social Security Administration was not notified of her death and distribution of benefits continued until June 2009. From March 1995 through June 2009, Tinajero obtained more than $148,000 in benefits meant for her deceased mother via check and direct deposit, and she personally used the money knowing that she was not entitled to the benefits.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Henry Z. Carbajal III is prosecuting the case.

Tinajero is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on January 26, 2015. Tinajero faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

FRESNO, Calif. — Rosaura M. Tinajero, 57, of Omaha, Nebraska, formerly of Wasco, California, pleaded guilty today to theft of Social Security benefits, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today.

According to court documents, Tinajero’s mother, a Social Security benefits recipient died in 1987. The Social Security Administration was not notified of her death and distribution of benefits continued until June 2009. From March 1995 through June 2009, Tinajero obtained more than $148,000 in benefits meant for her deceased mother via check and direct deposit, and she personally used the money knowing that she was not entitled to the benefits.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Henry Z. Carbajal III is prosecuting the case.

Tinajero is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on January 26, 2015. Tinajero faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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