David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
Sylvia Seidel, Deputy District Attorney
408-792-2509   For release on August 28, 2007   SUSPECT CHARGED WITH STEALING $126,000 IN WELFARE BENEFITS OVER 12 YEARS   Elvira Santamaria, age 40, of San Jose will appear in court on August 29 for identification of counsel.  She was arrested following an eight month investigation by the Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney’s Public Assistance Fraud Unit.  The complaint filed by this Office charges Santamaria with one felony count of welfare fraud and two felony counts of perjury.   The complaint alleges that between June of 1994 and June of 2006, while receiving cash aid and food stamps, Santamaria was employed using a different name.  She claimed on her application for aid that she was not employed.  The fraud netted the defendant more than $126,000 in benefits over that 12 year period.   If convicted on all charges, Santamaria could face over 7 years in state prison. Welfare fraud diverts public funds from those in need.  We encourage anyone with information concerning welfare fraud to call Public Assistance Fraud Hotline at (408) 635-1777.   ###

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