Welfare Fraud Convictions

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) - January 18, 2017, - Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on January 12, 2017, two unrelated cases of public assistance fraud were resolved in Yolo County Superior Court. 27 year old Cecilia M. Vega, of Davis, and 28-year-old Elizabeth Alexander, of West Sacramento, plead no contest to one count each of welfare fraud.

As part of the plea agreement, Vega must pay back Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) $7,946.00 in restitution for food stamps (CalFRESH) and cash aid (CalWORKs) benefits illegally received. While on public assistance, Vega failed to report her true household income. She intentionally withheld income received from her husband's employer. Vega signed and submitted reports to HHSA knowing they contained false information. HHSA relied on the reports submitted by Vega to accurately determine the benefits her household was eligible to receive. As a result of the false reports, Vega received benefits she was not eligible to receive. Judge Timothy L. Fall accepted the plea and sentenced Vega to 5 years summary probation, ordered to pay $276 in fines and fees and ordered to pay the remaining restitution balance of $7,174.

As part of the plea agreement for Alexander, she paid Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) $5,927.00 in restitution for food stamps (CalFRESH) and cash aid (CalWORKs) for the benefits she illegally received. While on public assistance, Alexander failed to report her true household income. She intentionally withheld her income from two separate employers from HHSA. Alexander signed and submitted reports to HHSA knowing that they contained false information. HHSA relied on the reports submitted by Alexander to accurately determine the benefits her household was eligible to receive. As a result of the false reports, Alexander received benefits she was not eligible to receive. Judge Daniel P. Maguire accepted the plea and sentenced Alexander to twenty days county jail, 24 months formal probation, and ordered her to pay $286 in fines and fees.

These two cases were investigated by the Yolo County District Attorney's Special Investigations Unit. The Yolo County DA's Office Special Investigations Unit and the Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency work to prevent and investigate Public Assistance Fraud. The two agencies work to make sure there are funds available to assist those who are truly in need while holding accountable those who attempt to take advantage of the system by obtaining more public assistance than they are entitled to. The most common types of welfare fraud occur when individuals receiving public assistance fail to report their true income or they fail to accurately report the number of individuals in the home because it could result in lower public assistance payments.

While government resources are dedicated to determining fraudulent action, the public’s attention to this issue is critical. Should you come across fraudulent activities in the County, the Yolo County District Attorney urges you to contact us, toll free, at 855-4-YOLO DA or email us at: Fraud@yoloda.org. Other consumer protection resources can be found at www.YoloDA.org.

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