Pasco woman accused of welfare fraud

By The Tri-City HeraldOctober 22, 2013 

A Pasco woman allegedly lied about her husband's job status so she could get extra money from the state toward food assistance and child care.

Lorena Reyes, 38, claimed her husband was not living in their home, didn't have an income and wasn't paying child support for their four children, court records said.

An investigator with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services said Reyes kept up that ruse from March 2005 to January 2012, signing multiple documents under penalty of perjury relating to her husband's involvement in the family's life, records said.

But late last year, her case grabbed the attention of the state's Office of Fraud and Accountability, and an investigation revealed that Reyes' husband was living in the home and drawing an income the entire time she was on public assistance.

Court records said the department was unaware of her husband's employment status because he had been using multiple Social Security numbers.

Reyes was overpaid more than $5,000, records show.

She pleaded innocent in Franklin County Superior Court to first-degree theft by welfare fraud and second-degree perjury, both felonies.

The theft charge includes aggravating circumstances that the crime involved a financial loss that was substantially greater than is typical and that there were multiple incidents.

Her trial is scheduled for Jan. 8.

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