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State v. Mr. W (DMC No. 14179)

Mr. W had gone through a divorce and his ex-wife lived with their child in California. He would have the child over Christmas break and in the summers. He applied for benefits through AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) for healthcare and for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) for food stamps. He included his daughter as a full time dependent and resident and part of those benefits. Over time, he received more than $10,000 in benefits.

An Investigator for AHCCCS began looking through the case and called Mr. W. He told the Investigator that his child did live with him, however, he could not remember the name of the grade school the child attended. The Investigator then called the mother who confirmed that the child lived with her year-round, except for summers and during the Christmas break. Ultimately, Mr. W was charged with 8 Counts of Unlawful Use of Food Stamps/Benefit Fraud, 2 Counts of Fraud Schemes and 2 Counts of Theft. Cost of the actual loss and investigation came to a grand total of $11,521.

Once we became involved in the case, we began having Mr. W repay the government all of the money that they had lost. We informed the Prosecutor of this and we also sent over a mitigation package. That mitigation package included letters from family, friends and coworkers, totaling 40 in number. Due to the great amount of community support, combined with a lack of any real criminal history, the Prosecutor agreed to extend an offer for Attempted Fraudulent Schemes as a Class 6 Undesignated Felony which allowed Mr. W to earn a Misdemeanor. It also included Probation with zero days in jail. Initially, Mr. W was facing well over a decade in prison if convicted on all charges and sentenced to the maximum consecutive punishment.

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