Former Steamboat woman sentenced to year in federal prison

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— A 61-year-old former Steamboat Springs resident was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for defrauding the Social Security Administration.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado said Kimberly Ann Stenerson, currently a resident of Mankato, Kan., collected Social Security benefits for her 92-year-old aunt but used the money for other purposes. Her aunt was in a nursing home in Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated in a news release that in July 1999, Stenerson put her aunt in the Mexico nursing home and in February 2002 became the representative payee for her aunt’s benefits after applying with the Social Security Administration.

“Stenerson falsely represented that her aunt lived in California and that she called to check on her aunt every week,” the news release stated. “Despite her promises, Stenerson failed to use all of her aunt’s benefits for her aunt or for the nursing home that cared for her aunt.”

In August 2009, a nun in charge of the nursing home where the aunt was staying in Mexico also applied to the Social Security Administration to receive the aunt’s Social Security benefits.

“When Stenerson discovered this, she contacted a Social Security Administration office in Colorado and falsely reported that her aunt was visiting relatives in Mexico for a few months and was scheduled to be back in Colorado in a few days, and someone in Mexico was trying to fraudulently gain control of her benefits,” the release stated.

When a Social Security Administration employee called and spoke to Stenerson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, Stenerson admitted she had not visited her aunt since 2002 and had not used her aunt’s benefits properly.

In addition to the prison time, Stenerson was ordered to pay back the Social Security Administration.

A message left at a phone number listed for Stenerson was not immediately returned Tuesday.

In a similar but unrelated case, Stephanie Sanchez, 38, of Denver, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for using $16,562 in benefits that should have been paid to her children and their fathers.

“The Social Security Administration entrusted these defendants to care for those who couldn’t care for themselves,” said Wilbert Craig, special agent in charge of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General. “The defendants’ selfish actions deprive the person in need of the assistance, instead providing money to another who is undeserving. We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the aggressive prosecution that led to this successful resolution.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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