News and Press Releases

Arpin Woman Receives Probation for Theft of government Funds

May 30, 2012

Madison, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Rose Svoboda, 76, Arpin, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to a two-year term of probation for theft of government funds. Svoboda pleaded guilty to this charge on March 14, 2012.

Svoboda’s mother is in a nursing home and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. In 2009, Svoboda was the representative payee for her mother’s Social Security payments and she learned from Social Security that her mother was entitled to a large back payment of $34,465. When the payment did not arrive immediately, Svoboda made repeated calls to the Social Security Administration, as well as Senator Kohl’s office, asking when the back payment would arrive. Svoboda was told on numerous occasions that she could not use any of the funds for her own benefit.

Svoboda subsequently spent some of the money by paying her own property taxes, gambling, and making miscellaneous purchases. Social Security agents contacted Svoboda and once again told her she could not spend the money on herself, and they asked her to return the money. Svoboda refused. Although Svoboda entered a guilty plea, up until sentencing she was still trying to portray herself as a victim because she had taken care of her mother for years and claimed her mother would have wanted her to have the money.

Judge Crabb told Svoboda, “I know you think it was justified, but it wasn’t.” Judge Crabb also said, “It’s important that people know that there are consequences to the misuse of these funds.”

Judge Crabb ordered Svoboda to pay restitution in the amount of $33,828.71 by making monthly payments of $500.

The charge against Svoboda was the result of an investigation conducted by the Social Security Administration. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow.


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