CrimeDivas

Female White-Collar Crime Divas-Mordern Day Thieves

Welfare Fraud Will Send You To Prison

     Just this morning I read six cases about welfare fraud, one for a few hundred dollars, a few in the ten thousand dollars marks, two in the hundreds of thousand dollars. To me it appears that several things can be going on. 1). People are having a hard time making ends meet. There are some people, who are barely able to make it, but the Department of Human Services guidelines shut them out–their incomes are usually on the borderline and disqualified from benefits. Therefore, they lie to get food stamps, medical assistance, or even money benefits. In general, these benefits are small in amounts, but can still led to criminal charges and sending you to prison. 2). Then you have the welfare fraud where individuals whose household income allow them to live in middle class communities, drive nice cars, and go on vacations who feel they are entitled to these welfare benefits. They provide all sort of false documents to support their claims and end up getting tens of thousands and some even hundreds of thousands of dollars of public assistance they should not and continue their scam for years until their caught. This “will” certainly send you to prison.

635781645452354097-20150918-ELM-Samantha-EldiqranOne of today’s CrimeDiva is Samantha Eldiqran and her husband. They were charged with felonies after being accused of taking more than $11,000 in public benefits fraudulently. [Now this is how embarrassing this can get.] The couple were picked up and arrested by the police on warrants for third degree welfare fraud, third degree grand larceny and first degree offering a false instrument for filing, all felonies. Department of Social Services Special Investigation Unit states they received $11,408 in food stamp benefits they were not entitled to receive.

$11,408 is not a lot of money; in general, it’s not the money amount but the offenses, how many counts, and even how long the crimes were committed that send you to prison.

jenThe next CrimeDivas, Jennifer Cole, also known as Jennifer Gossard, 41, of Washington County, Maryland. Ms. Cole case is “the biggest welfare fraud case in the history of the state of Maryland.”  Ms. Gossard has “eight children” and employed by The Herald-Mail for about 10 years; she delivers the newspaper. She was arrested and had to post $100,000 bond. 
A county grand jury indicted Ms. Gossard for allegedly receiving food stamps and medical assistance from the state totaling $180,000 from a period beginning in 2007 until March of 2015. The food-stamp assistance ended in 2013, but allegedly, she continued to get medical assistance payments into March of this year.

Ms. Gossard was charged with violating of the public assistance law, with each count carrying a maximum penalty of three years, making fraudulent statements on an application, which carries a 10-year maximum on each count, obtaining a benefit by fraud, with a maximum penalty of five years per count, one charge in the indictment alleges that on June 25, 2007, Ms. Gossard allegedly “did fraudulently obtain a benefit to which the person aided was not entitled … food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” Also, charges of willfully making a false representation to an agent of the Washington County Department of Social Services, “willfully failing to disclose to an agent … material changes in household and financial conditions” in June 2007,  false statement on a written application to obtain food stamps during that same time period, while other counts accuse her of committing the same offenses into 2013, and that between 2007 and 2015 she made false statements in signed applications to obtain assistance from a program administered through the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

All the details surrounding the case were not available at the time of this posting, but it is hard for me to understand why this woman with so many children who was delivering newspapers were not entitled to these benefits unless she had a husband or the children’s father was living at home and supporting them.

yauctHere is the real welfare fraud CrimeDivas, Colin Chisholm, 62, and Andrea Chisholm, 53. This couple was living a lavish lifestyle while milking a public assistance programs in their home state of Minnesota, for more than $165,000 between January 2005 and March 2012 in that state alone. Records show they had $3 million in various bank accounts during that period. They are also accused of receiving welfare benefits from Florida.

The couple lived in a luxury home while in the Florida. It has since been demolished but they paid several thousand dollars a month while living there. Authorities said they made a few payments on the yacht they bought while in Florida for $1.2 million, but the Coast Guard repossessed it.

As an example of prison time for welfare fraud, just recently Tammy L. Grove, 45, of BradfordMcKean County, was ordered to prison after pleading guilty to felony welfare fraud charges.  Ms. Grove illegally received cash assistance and food stamp benefits in excess of $6,750.

Ms. Grove was sentenced to a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of one year, 11 months, 15 days incarceration, and 23 and one-half months concurrent probation.  In addition, Ms. Grove received 250 hours community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees. Additionally, Ms. Grove is disqualified from receiving cash benefits for a period of six months and food stamp benefits for a period of 12 months.  

In most cases, someone tips off the authorities who uncover these crimes and an investigation follows, which leads to criminal charges and in most cases prison time. Yes, there are thousands of people in prison for these crimes, make sure you are not one. 

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