Keep Your Hands to Yourself

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22755453 - tax crime concept money and handcuffs on a white background

One of the great things about America is that it extends public assistance to qualified underprivileged people. But, when unqualified people collect government benefits they don’t deserve, it deprives others from having a better future. One of today’s fraudsters committed Welfare fraud by stealing more than $90,000 from four government benefit programs, while working as a county employee in the state of California. (Basically, she bit the hand that was feeding her.)

The former county employee stole from the government programs while working previously as an office assistant in the Social Services Department of Lake County for six months, then a correctional aide for less than a year, a correctional officer for one month, then, back to the aide position for 10 days before leaving. The woman stole nearly $35,000 in undeserved benefits from In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for her son, who supposedly had a condition that was only observed by her. IHSS provides domestic and personal care services to low-income aged, blind and disabled people who are unable to remain in their homes, requiring long-term institutional care otherwise. (Following a week-long science camp her son attended, it was determined that he did not exhibit any of the symptoms of the alleged medical condition.)

The woman also received about $28,000 in undeserved funds for childcare. But, that’s not all. She received $3,000 from CalWorks, a welfare program that provides cash aid and other services to eligible California families and more than $30,000 from CalFresh, or food stamps.

This fraudster received these undeserved government benefits for almost five years because she failed to report that she was receiving child support payments from her ex-husband for their four children. She carried out her ruse with the help of her boyfriend, who provided childcare for her son. (He also helped her fill out the government benefit application forms.)

The 40-year-old former county social worker and correctional staffer and her 36-year-old boyfriend both entered guilty pleas for their part in the welfare fraud scheme. Both were sentenced to five years of probation, plus 180 days in jail.

The California woman and her boyfriend both bit off more fraud than they could chew when they decided to scam the multiple government benefit programs through their Welfare fraud scheme. But when they bit the hand that fed them, they rightfully got a punishing slap in the face. (What’s the moral of the story? Keep your hands to yourself and out of the pockets of the government.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Former county employee and boyfriend sentenced for welfare fraud; more than $90,000 takenpublished by Lake County News on September 7, 2017.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – A woman who formerly worked for the county and her boyfriend have pleaded guilty in what a local prosecutor said is the biggest welfare fraud case she’s ever seen. April Melissa Wilson, 40, a former county social worker and correctional staffer, and her boyfriend, 36-year-old Brian Noel Jones, both of Hidden Valley Lake, entered guilty pleas in the case, which involved receipt of more than $90,000 in public assistance from a combination of programs – In-Home Supportive Services, North Coast Opportunities, CalWorks and CalFresh, according to Deputy District Attorney Rachel Abelson.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.