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Valley Woman Pleads Guilty After Using Charity as Cover for Social Security Rip-offs



Lorene Deanda, 64, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on July 24. (GV Wire File)
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A 64-year-old Ceres woman who ripped off Social Security recipients for years while working for Catholic Charities out of its Modesto office pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Monday.

Lorene Deanda, 64, stole more than $550,000 from recipients of Social Security and other government benefit funds, according to federal court documents.

U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced Deanda’s guilty plea in a news release.

Deanda Was Supposed to Help People With Financial Affairs

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton employed Deanda, who was supposed to assist people who could not manage their own financial affairs. On behalf of the charitable organization, she would set up bank accounts for the people and process benefits into those accounts.

Deanda’s duties included paying their bills and necessities. However, from 2003 to May 2015, Deanda stole from the accounts and spent the money on her personal expenses, including her mortgage and credit cards.

After Deanda was arrested in late 2018, an official with Catholic Charities in Modesto told Fox40 in Sacramento that the organization was working to improve its internal controls. Catholic Charities fired Deanda in 2015.

The Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI investigated Deanda. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Brittany M. Gunter are prosecuting the case.

Deanda is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on July 24, 2023.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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