(Woodland, CA) – September 20, 2018 - Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on September 11, 2018, 41-year-old Mary Francine Macias, of West Sacramento, was sentenced to 30 days county jail, five years felony probation and 240 hours of community service. On August 3, 2018, Macias plead no contest to one count of felony welfare fraud. As part of the plea agreement, Macias' remaining felony counts were dismissed in the interest of justice. Macias was also ordered to pay the Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) $46,925.71 in restitution for public assistance benefits she illegally received.
While on public assistance during various periods of time from August 2011 to July 2016, Macias received $19,281 in Cash Aid (CalWORKs), $22,045.03 in Food Stamps (CalFRESH) and $5,599.68 in Welfare to Work funds for Homeless Assistance. During this time, Macias failed to report to the HHSA her true income from two separate employers. In addition to her regular income, Macias was also provided housing and she had her utilities paid for as part of her total compensation package from one of her employers. Macias intentionally withheld this information from HHSA and applied for Homeless Assistance in addition to the other programs. Her application was approved and she received Homeless Assistance funds for rent and utilities. While employed as an apartment complex manager, Macias was able to easily exchange the checks issued by HHSA for cash. This fraudulent conduct went unnoticed until the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) started looking at claims made by Macias that the Employment Development Department was withholding funds from her which later turned out not to be true.
Macias intentionally withheld income information on the forms submitted to the HHSA. These documents were signed under penalty of perjury. Macias was aware that she was submitting false information. The HHSA relied on the reports submitted by Macias to accurately determine the benefits her household was eligible to receive. As a result of the false reports, Macias received benefits she was not eligible to receive.
This case was investigated by the Yolo County District Attorney's Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The Yolo County DA's Office SIU and the Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency work to prevent and investigate Public Assistance Fraud. The two agencies work to ensure that there are funds available to assist those who are truly in need while holding accountable those who attempt to take advantage of the system. The most common type of welfare fraud occurs when individuals receiving public assistance fail to report income or they fail to accurately report the number of individuals in the home because it could result in lower public assistance payments.
The Yolo County DA’s Office traditionally prosecutes higher level welfare fraud cases through traditional court, whereas lower level welfare fraud cases are now being processed through the DA’s Neighborhood Court Program, a restorative justice, community-based program seeking to divert and resolve lower level welfare fraud cases to avoid a criminal record for the offender.
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.