Thursday, June 26, 2013
Deputy Public Defender in Riverside Charged With Stealing $130,000 in Social Security Benefits
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A deputy public defender for Riverside County surrendered to federal authorities yesterday after being charged with stealing approximately $130,000 in social security benefits.
Audrey Owens, 60, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court on June 10 with theft of government property in a scheme that spanned 12 years, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry C. Yang said. Owens is charged with one felony count that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
Owens was taken into custody by special agents with the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.
Owens made her initial court appearance yesterday afternoon in Riverside before Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the Central District of California, was granted bail of $25,000, and must return to court for a preliminary hearing July 17, Yang told the MetNews.
From June 2000 through August 2012, according to the affidavit in support of the complaint, Owens fraudulently obtained social security benefits intended for her grandmother, who died in May 2000. After her grandmotherís death, Owens changed the address of a joint account she shared with her grandmother and continued to receive social security payments intended for her grandmother.
Owens allegedly used these social security payments to pay bills and to pay expenses that included contributions to the Riverside County Employee Campaign.
Neither Owens nor her attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Joan Politeo, could be reached for comment.
State Bar records show that Owens was admitted to the State Bar in 1991. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri and American College of Law in Brea.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company