Former Beauty Queen Found Guilty of Fraud

A former beauty queen (search) who collected more than $190,000 in Social Security benefits by claiming she was disabled was convicted Monday of fraud.

A federal jury found Denise Henderson (search), 44, guilty of wire fraud and of making false statements and concealing information from the Social Security Administration (search).

Federal sentencing guidelines call for between 21/4 years and 23/4 years in prison, prosecutors said. No sentencing date was set.

Henderson did not comment, but her lawyer in a related civil case said she plans to appeal.

"At this point she's numb and she's shocked," attorney Steven Silton said.

Henderson — Mrs. Minnesota International in 1999 and Mrs. Iowa International in 2001 — has claimed she suffers debilitating chronic pain from a 1995 car accident.

Federal prosecutors noted during the trial that Henderson collected benefits while making over 200 appearances as Mrs. Minnesota International (search) in a year. Henderson, of Woodbury, currently serves as a director for several pageants.

According to a report she filed in 1997, Henderson said she had continuous back and neck pain and could not move or straighten up, had migraines four or five times a week that lasted most of a day and could not drive more than 20 minutes at a time.