Welfare fraud: 23 Valley residents arrested for allegedly stealing more than $378,000

Special to The Bee

Twenty-three people were arrested in Tulare County earlier this week for alleged welfare fraud.

Residents of Porterville, Earlimart, Fresno, Lindsay, Visalia, Dinuba, Tulare and Visalia were arrested, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office reported Thursday.

The total amount of alleged fraud is $378,163.

“In 2018, the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations identified $989,685 in fraudulent benefits, resulting in felony criminal charges being filed on 85 cases,” the office wrote in a news release.

The fraudulent activity in those cases included failing to report income, failing to report changes in household composition, and trafficking EBT benefits for financial gain.

The district attorney’s office said that “it is a felony for an individual to make a false statement or misrepresentation of material facts in order to obtain over $950 of aid they are not entitled to receive.”

Anyone with information about suspected fraud can contact the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office at 559-636-5410.

Carmen George is a features and news reporter for The Fresno Bee. Her stories have been recognized with Best of the West, George F. Gruner, and McClatchy President’s awards, and nine first or second place awards from the California News Publishers Association. She has a passion for sharing people’s stories to highlight issues and promote greater understanding.