Welfare Fraud Stories

September 2008 – Stanislaus County
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager announced today that fourteen defendants were found guilty during the month of September 2008 of having
committed Welfare Fraud or closely related crimes as a result of their failures to reveal on their applications for Cash Aid, Food Stamps, or Child Care benefits that they were not eligible for such benefits. Read More

August 2008 – Stanislaus County
Two Modestans were convicted recently of welfare fraud, according to statements from the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office. Kenneth Eurdean Hopper III, 40, applied for food stamps even though a felony conviction disqualified him from receiving such aid. He was sentenced to one year in jail after he pleaded no contest to welfare fraud, a felony, and being under the influence of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Feleni F. Leota, 32, applied for cash aid and food stamps even though she worked two jobs, earning $19,000 annually. She was sentenced to 240 hours of community service after she pleaded no contest to felony welfare fraud.

January 2008 – Ventura County
A Simi Valley woman was recently arrested on charges of welfare fraud, identity theft, and committing a new felony offense while on bail. The accused allegedly received $1,694 in cash and food stamps, for which she was not legally eligible, by using fake Social Security numbers similar to her own. The charges also included allegations of identity theft and perjury. She was arrested on the new charges in Simi Valley without incident on January 4. Bail was set at $100,000.

June 2007 – Butte County
Eight people were arrested for welfare fraud by investigators from the Butte County District Attorney’s Office on the morning of Thursday, June 7, 2007. District Attorney Mike Ramsey made the announcement of the arrests in a press release.

May 2007 – Los Angeles County
To curb welfare fraud, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich introduced a motion to provide fraud detection and prevention training to all County staff who administer public assistance programs and incorporate “data mining” technology in the Department of Public and Social Services Data warehouse. Currently, the State and County are individually responsible for investigating fraud in their respective programs. This past year, the State’s successful “data mining” program recovered a record $274 million in funds stolen from Medi-Cal. Additionally, on March 21, 2006, the Board approved a motion to develop an interagency Data Warehouse, which DPSS began implementing in July 2007.

May 2007 – Los Angeles County
While exact figures are difficult to tally, experts estimate as much as $300 billion a year is lost to health care fraud in the United States – more than half of it to organized crime. Medi-Cal spends about $34 billion annually to provide care for about 7 million indigent Californians – with about $3 billion of that lost to fraud, experts say. The state Attorney General’s Office has a bureau that deals specifically with Medi-Cal fraud. It’s prosecuted about 1,000 such cases over the past eight years – double the number for the previous eight years. Most, officials say, are related to organized crime.

May 2007 – Los Angeles County
Lana M. and her husband collected welfare benefits in 2003, claiming they earned less than $24,000. But authorities say Lana M., the former office manager of a job-training center for immigrant welfare recipients, also owned a liquor store and recycling business. Authorities say, she drove a $76,000 luxury car, shopped at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue and had $147,980 stashed in her bedroom dresser.

March 2007 – Arizona/California
KINGMAN – A Bullhead City woman was sentenced in Phoenix to two months in county jail for illegal using food stamps. Rita M. made false statements on welfare applications on 10 different occasions between August 2000 and September 2004. On the applications, she misstated her income and the number of children she had, and failed to tell the Arizona Department of Economic Security that she already received substantial adoption payments from California. She pleaded guilty to fraudulent schemes and practices with other charges being dismissed. Rita M. was also sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $54,725 in restitution.

March 2007 – Butte County
OROVILLE — A Paradise woman was sentenced to six months in jail for committing fraud while already in the county jail for a fraud conviction. Lotheda B. was first convicted in November 2005 for defrauding the county Welfare Department of $4,241 in aid. After the conviction, she drew IHSS wages for caring for her mother. A check by the District Attorney’s Office IHSS fraud unit found she had claimed to be caring for her mother during the period she was in jail. She was again arrested and charged with defrauding the IHSS system of $646. Lotheda B. was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail, reimbursement, and additional community service. She will face three years probation upon release.

February 2007 – Ventura County
Valie M. was sentence to six months in jail and three years’ probation after she pleaded guilty last month to one count of welfare fraud and two counts of grand theft. She pleaded guilty in January 2007 to pocketing money the state paid her live-in boyfriend so he could take care of her two children. She illegally took housing funds, food stamps, child care and welfare payments totaling about $33,000, including $19,232 for child care services, according to prosecutors.

November 2006 – Los Angeles County
The woman whose son was at the center of last year’s Michael Jackson trial has pleaded no contest to welfare fraud. Prosecutors contended that she applied for welfare without disclosing she had money from an insurance settlement. Her attorney said her client “felt she had a viable defense” to the welfare fraud charge, but the attorney says the woman wants to “move on with her life” and not put her family through “a major trial.” The woman was ordered to complete 150 hours of community service and pay $8,600 restitution by April 27th.

June 2006 – Los Angeles County
Welfare recipients and their friends and relatives defrauded taxpayers of $500 million a year through the county’s child care programs, a grand jury report concluded. The report found that nearly half the $1.1 billion CalWORKS child care program is lost to fraud. DPSS staff said the grand jury study shouldn’t be used to draw conclusions about child-care fraud because it was not specifically a fraud study.

April 2007 – Los Angeles County
Through their citizen children, illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County collect $420 million annually in welfare and food stamps, according to a report requested by 5th District County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services told the supervisor that payments to illegal immigrants’ children amount to approximately 24% of the county’s combined CalWORKS and food stamps budget. According to Antonovich’s office, illegal immigrants annually cost the county $360 million in health care and $220 million in incarceration costs.

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