South Dakota Woman Accused of Using Her Work Position to Steal Social Security Money

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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A Brookings woman is accused of using her work position to steal Social Security money from three clients.

Pennie Sue Malenke, 40, was in federal court Monday in Sioux Falls on charges of embezzlement, lying to authorities and bank fraud, which involve thefts from July 24, 2009, through Nov. 3, 2012.

The indictment says Malenke supervised the victims “as part of her job duties.” A spokesperson with the U.S. attorney’s office declined to say what that position was.

Malenke worked at Advance, a Brookings agency that works with the developmentally disabled, according to human resources director Maureen Simet. Simet said only that Malenke had not worked there in “over a year.”

The indictment alleges that Malenke embezzled more than $1,000 from the Social Security Administration that was meant for three beneficiaries under Title II and Title XVI. Title II funds involve old age, retirement and survivor benefits. Title XVI funds are for the elderly, blind or disabled.

Malenke also is accused of lying to federal investigators by saying the missing money was used for the clients’ “food, housing, clothing, education, medical and dental expenses, recreation and personal items.”

She also withdrew funds from a bank account under false pretenses for personal use, prosecutors say.

Malenke pleaded not guilty to all three charges Monday during a brief first court appearance.

Judge John Simko released her on a promise to return.