United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Watertown woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Theft of Government Funds and Misuse of Benefits by a Representative Payee.
Jana Harford, a/k/a Jana Hagman, a/k/a Jana Becker, a/k/a Jana Jensen, age 38, was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 14, 2012. She appeared before United States Magistrate Judge William D. Gerdes on February 28, 2012, and pled not guilty to the indictment. The maximum penalty upon conviction of Theft of Government Funds is 10 years in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both. The maximum penalty upon conviction of Misuse of Benefits by a Representative Payee is 5 years in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both. Restitution may also be ordered for each conviction.
The charges relate to an allegation that from December 2010 to June 2011, the defendant defrauded the Old Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance Program administered by the Social Security Administration by misusing Title II disability benefits she received as the representative payee. The charge is merely an accusation, and Harford is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the Social Security Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Jay Miller is prosecuting the case. Harford was released on bond pending trial in Aberdeen, South Dakota, scheduled for May 8, 2012.