a USDOJ: US Attorney's Office - CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA - 158
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Grand Jury Indicts 11 Defendants for Theft of Government Property and Related Crimes in Inland Empire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2012

Defendants Accused of Stealing Veterans’ Benefits and Social Security Funds

RIVERSIDE, California – A joint enforcement initiative by the United States Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General has resulted in a federal grand jury returning indictments charging 11 defendants with offenses relating to the theft of government benefit funds.

A federal grand jury began issuing indictments on October 31, and has returned a total of 11 indictments, each charging a separate defendant. Ten of the 11 indicted defendants are charged with theft of government property exceeding $1,000 in value. These charges allege that the defendants took and spent government benefit payments to which they knew they were not entitled, including in some cases payments the government had issued to their deceased family members. Six of these 10 indicted defendants, and one additional defendant, are charged with making false statements to the government in connection with their efforts to fraudulently obtain government benefits. The alleged lies related to, among other things, the defendants’ identities, social security numbers, and employment or marital status, and the locations of the defendants’ residences.

Included in the 10 defendants charged with theft of government property in excess of $1,000 in connection with this initiative are:

Linda Marie Phillips, 59, of Fontana, who is also charged with making a false statement to a government agency and is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on November 28 in Riverside federal court;

Gilbert Jose Leon Guerrero, 65, of Chino, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued;

Michael Leslie Snyder, 66, of Riverside, who is also charged with presenting a false document to a government agency and is scheduled to be arraigned on December 7 in Los Angeles federal court;

William Edward Catchings, 71, of Pomona, who is also charged with making a false statement to a government agency and is scheduled to be arraigned on November 27 in Los Angeles federal court;

Richard Victor Schmitz, 67, of Loma Linda, who is also charged with making a false statement to a government agency, and for whom an arrest warrant has been issued;

Marta Urbina, 64, of Riverside, who is scheduled to be arraigned on November 21 in Riverside federal court;
Valerie M. Ikeda, 45, of Moreno Valley, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued;

Betty Jean Vieira, 66, of Moreno Valley, who is also charged with making a false statement to a government agency and is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on December 3 in Los Angeles federal court; and

Michelle Kay Jarrett, 42, of Lytle Creek, who is scheduled to be arraigned on December 3 in Los Angeles federal court.

The single defendant charged only with making a false statement to a government agency – Carmen Eugenia Tallman, 67, of Kent, Washington – is scheduled to be arraigned on December 12 in Riverside federal court.

Indictments contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

Those convicted of theft of government property in excess of $1,000 face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Those convicted of making false statements or submitting false documents to a federal agency face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison.

Release No. 12-158

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