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Press Release

Rapid City Woman Sentenced for Making False Statements to Receive 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 convicted of two counts of False Statements was sentenced on August 3, 2020, by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Judge.

Jolenta Apodaca, f/k/a Jolenta American Horse, age 44, was sentenced to 6 months’ custody, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $26,920 to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and $4,713 to the South Dakota Department of Social Services (SD DSS).  Apodaca was also ordered to pay $200 in special assessments to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Apodaca was indicted on January 22, 2020, for Theft of Government Funds, two counts of False Statements, and Misuse by a Representative Payee.

The Rapid City SSA Field Office was notified by a third party that she went to the SD DSS to apply for state benefits for Apodaca’s child, who had been living with the third party for several years.  SD DSS notified the third party that the child was a Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary.  The third party advised SSA she was unaware the child was a SSI beneficiary and reported that she received no funds from Apodaca or SSI for the care of the child.  The third party also reported that Apodaca’s child had not lived with Apodaca for several years.

The Sioux Falls Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit (CDIU) corroborated that Apodaca, as the child’s SSA approved Representative Payee (RP), had misused dedicated SSI funds (back payments) as well as monthly SSI payments, and had spent the funds on herself rather than her child.  Additionally, CDIU corroborated that Apodaca misused $4,713 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits payable to the child.

Pursuant to the CDIU investigation, SSA determined that from September 1, 2016, through August 31, 2019, Apodaca misused $26,920 in Title XVI SSI benefits to which she was not entitled.

This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General – Social Security Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Sazama prosecuted the case.

Updated August 10, 2020