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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Idaho Falls Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing Her Deceased Mother’s Social Security Benefits

POCATELLO - Wendy K. Banks, 55, of, Idaho Falls, Idaho, pleaded guilty today to theft of government funds, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.  She was indicted by a grand jury on November 20, 2014.

According to the plea agreement, Banks admitted that between June 2009 and January 2014, she stole $29,600.20 of her deceased mother’s monthly social security benefits.  After her mother’s death, Banks maintained the joint bank account she had shared with her mother.  Banks forged her mother’s signature or wrote “for deposit” on the social security checks and deposited them in the joint account, eventually changing the checks to direct deposit in the joint account.

The charge of theft of government funds is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

Sentencing is set for June 23, 2015 in Pocatello before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney as part of a partnership venture between the Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel and the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute social security fraud.

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Updated March 26, 2015