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Press Release

Rapid City Woman Charged with Theft of Government Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Theft of Government Funds, False Statement, and Misuse by a Representative Payee.

Jolenta Apodaca, f/k/a Jolenta American Horse, age 42, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund for the Theft of Government Funds charge.  The maximum penalty upon conviction for the other charges is 5 years in prison 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 charges relate to Apodaca knowingly converting to her own use money of the U.S. Social Security Administration and making false statements on non-medical review forms on February 13, 2018, and February 28, 2019, as Representative Payee for her minor child’s Supplemental Security Income benefits.  Apodaca stated that her minor child resided with her, when in fact the child had not resided with her since 2016.  Apodaca received benefits, intended for the child, totaling approximately $26,920 from these false statements.

The charges are merely accusations and Apodaca is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the Office of the Inspector General – Social Security Administration.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Sazama is prosecuting the case.

Apodaca was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.  A trial date has been set for April 14, 2020.

Updated February 12, 2020