Nine people have been arrested for allegedly committing felony welfare fraud, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Those arrested last week by criminal investigators were booked into jail, or cited and released and told to show up in court.
They were identified as Maribel Acosta, 38, of Woodlake; Armando Diaz, 32, of Visalia; Shelbie Williams, 26, of Visalia; Tiffany Randle, 34, of Porterville; Kayla Albright, 27, of Porterville; Andrea Jimenez, 44, of Visalia; Katherine Sconiers, 35, of Visalia; Diego Acuna, 34, of Visalia; and Virginia Meza, 31, of Visalia, according to a news release.
The total amount of the alleged fraud is $56,536.
It is a felony to make false statements or misrepresent facts to get more than $950 of aid, the District Attorney’s Office said. If found guilty, penalties include restitution, probation, jail or prison, and loss of future benefits.
“The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations will continue to diligently investigate all suspected fraud committed against public assistance programs in Tulare County,” the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The welfare fraud unit consists of eight investigators, two aides, a supervisor and a prosecutor who only works on welfare fraud cases. Last year, the welfare fraud unit identified $465,483 of fraud, filed 70 cases and investigated 2,270 reports of cheating.
Anyone who suspects welfare fraud in Tulare County should contact the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations at 559-636-5410.