MINNEAPOLIS -- A St. Cloud man has pleaded guilty to federal theft charges for stealing $54,000 worth of veterans’ benefits.

52-year-old Mitchell Pederson stole benefits paid to surviving spouses of veterans who died in military action.

The benefits were paid to Pederson’s mother who died in 2004. Records show Pederson took the money from June of 2006 until June of 2010.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Pederson continued to collect the benefits and deposit them into his account even though they should have been terminated.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.