News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California

Fresno Woman Indicted for Stealing Social Security Benefits

Thursday, September 5, 2013


FRESNO, Calif. — Ernedina Madrigal, aka Mary Louise Madrigal, 77, of Fresno, was indicted today by a federal grand jury charging her with stealing benefits paid by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), using a false social security number, and making false statements for the SSA’s use in determining her rights to social security benefits, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to the indictment, from approximately 1996 to 2011, after already legitimately possessing a social security number and receiving social security benefits under her own number, Madrigal applied for and received social security benefits using the assumed identity of her deceased sister. Over a 16-year period, Madrigal unlawfully received approximately $113,000 in SSA benefits under the illicit social security number while also receiving SSA benefits under her legitimate social security number. Madrigal also failed to report her receipt of earned income in a statement used by the SSA to determine her continuing eligibility to receive benefits under the illicit social security number.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Baker is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of stealing public money, Madrigal faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The other charges carry maximum statutory penalties of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



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