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Social Security fraud conviction for Ceres man

POSTED March 15, 2011 8:34 p.m.

A Ceres man has pled guilty to charges he illegally received Social Security benefits for a deceased woman for more than 20 years.

Charles Francis Sheppard, 56, pleaded guilty on Monday in the Eastern District of California federal courthouse to theft of government property.

According to the plea agreement, from 1988 to 2009, Sheppard received the Social Security retirement benefits of a legitimate social security recipient who had died in 1988. Sheppard was on the deceased’s death certificate as the person to be notified. As such, Sheppard identified the deceased and provided her personal information to the county recorder who issued the certificate of death, but the Social Security Administration was not informed of the death. Sheppard had no entitlement to the retirement benefits, but continued to receive the funds and used them for his personal use. During this time, Sheppard unlawfully received between $120,000 and $400,000, according to the prosecution. This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.  Sheppard is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 1

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