Stanislaus County Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing Money from Recipients of Social Security and Other Government Benefits

Apr 11, 2023

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Lorene Deanda, 64, of Ceres, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud in relation to her stealing more than $550,000 from recipients of Social Security and other government 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 beneficiaries’ accounts and spent the money on her own personal expenses, including to pay for her personal credit card bills and residential mortgage. In total, Deanda stole over $550,000.

This case is 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 are prosecuting the case.

Deanda is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on July 24, 2023. Deanda faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. 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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