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California Woman Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Money Social Security and Other Benefits

December 11, 2023

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Lorene Deanda, 64, of Ceres, was sentenced today to three years and one month in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, in relation to her stealing more than $550,000 from recipients of Social Security and other benefit funds, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Deanda was employed by a charitable organization in Modesto and managed the organization’s representative payee program. This program assisted recipients of Social Security and other federal and state benefits who could not physically manage their own financial affairs. Deanda, on behalf of the charitable organization, would set up bank accounts for the beneficiaries and receive benefit funds into those accounts. Deanda’s duties included paying beneficiaries’ bills and necessities from those accounts. However, from 2003 to May 2015, Deanda stole benefit funds from the accounts and spent the money on her own personal expenses, including paying for her personal credit card bills and residential mortgage. Deanda stole a total of more than $550,000.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Brittany M. Gunter prosecuted the case.

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