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Press Release

Springfield Woman Sentenced for Theft of Government Funds

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Springfield, South Dakota, woman convicted of Theft of Government Funds was sentenced on December 16, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Shelly Linn Jones-Hegge, age 44, was sentenced to 5 years of probation, restitution in the amount of $27,484.43 to the Social Security Administration, $21,210.18 to South Dakota Medicaid, and $6,060.00 to South Dakota SNAP, for a total of $54,754.61, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Jones-Hegge was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 4, 2018.  She pled guilty on September 26, 2019.

The conviction stemmed from incidents between December 3, 2013, and July 1, 2017, when Jones-Hegge willfully and knowingly embezzled, stole and purloined money from departments or agencies of the United States, namely, Title XVI program benefits payments made to her stepdaughter, which are administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration.

In approximately December 2013, Jones-Hegge applied for Title XVI supplemental security income program benefits payments (SSI) for her stepdaughter.  In the application, she stated that she lived with three minor children: her own two children and her stepdaughter.  Jones-Hegge did not disclose that her husband—the biological father of her stepdaughter—was living in the same residence with them.  Jones-Hegge was well-aware that her husband lived with them and was earning money from his employment, and that his earnings would factor into whether her stepdaughter was eligible to receive SSI benefits. 

In March 2014, her stepdaughter was awarded SSI, and Jones-Hegge was appointed to be her representative payee.  She began receiving benefits payments on behalf of her stepdaughter.  In multiple reviews with the Social Security Administration and the South Dakota Department of Social Services, she repeatedly concealed that her husband was living in the same residence as her and her stepdaughter in order to continue receiving benefits to which she would not have otherwise been entitled.  The value of the benefits received by the Defendant exceeded $1,000. 

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.

Updated December 19, 2019