SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that a Ceres woman was arrested and charged with 10 counts of mail fraud and one count of Conversion of Social Security benefits.
U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced 59-year-old Lorene Deanda’s arrest. Deanda was charged by a federal grand jury on Dec. 6.
Court documents show that Deanda was employed by a charitable organization in Modesto where she helped and ultimately managed the organization’s representative payee program. The program helped Social Security recipients manage their financial affairs.
According to the documents, Deanda would set up bank accounts for beneficiaries and put benefit funds into those accounts on behalf of the organization. She then paid beneficiaries’ bills and living expenses from the accounts using the benefit funds.
But court documents found that from April 2009 to May 2015 Deanda stole benefit funds from the accounts to pay for her personal expenses. The amount stolen was over $516,000.
The DOJ said if Deanda is convicted, she faces a maximum penalty for mail fraud of 20 years in prison with a $250,000 fine. For the conversion of Social Security benefits, she could face up to five years in prison.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Z. Carbajal III is prosecuting the case.