Four South Dakotans Charged With Social Security Fraud
United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that four people have been indicted by a federal grand jury for Theft of Government Funds.
Darrell Duane Vik, age 71, of Beresford, South Dakota; Norwood Baybridge, age 64, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Michele Kelliher, age 48, of Watertown, South Dakota; and Tanyel Rippentrop, age 40, of Brandon, South Dakota, were each indicted on March 9, 2016, on the charge of Theft of Government Funds. In addition, Rippentrop was also charged with Access Device Fraud.
They all appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on May 6, 2016, and pled not guilty to the Indictments.
The maximum penalty upon conviction for the theft charge is up to 10 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered. The maximum penalty upon conviction for Ripptentrop’s access device fraud charge is up to 5 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
Each defendant is accused of converting to his or her own use the Social Security benefits meant for a family member’s care. Rippentrop is also accused of using a prepaid debit card belonging to the family member to draw on those funds.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigations are being conducted by the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General. Criminal Chief Dennis R. Holmes is prosecuting Rippentrop and Kelliher; Assistant U.S. Attorney Connie Larson is prosecuting Vik; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper is prosecuting Baybridge.
The defendants were released pending trial. Trial dates have not been set.