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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Former Kern County Resident Charged With Stealing Social Security Benefits

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Rosaura M. Tinajero, 56, of Omaha, Neb., and formerly of Wasco, Calif., charging her with theft of public money and two counts of wire fraud, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Tinajero’s mother, a Social Security benefits recipient, died in 1987. The Social Security Administration was not notified of her death and distribution of benefits continued from June 1987 through June 2009. From March 1995 through June 2009, Tinajero obtained more than $120,000 in benefits meant for her deceased mother via check and direct deposit, and personally used the money with knowledge that she was not entitled to the benefits.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Henry Z. Carbajal III is prosecuting the case.

Tinajero is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, June 9, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.

If convicted, Tinajero faces a maximum statutory penalty for theft of public money of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Wire fraud carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 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.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:14-cr-090 LJO
Updated April 8, 2015