Food Stamp Fraud Suspect Arrested

January 5, 2009 8:08:09 PM PST
The Fresno County District Attorney's Office says a woman who works in the office that issues food stamps to needy families, was illegally using the public assistance.Anna Maria Rosales was arrested Monday morning for a theft case that dates back to 1995. But, the District Attorney's Office has also been investigating allegations of food stamp fraud for the past two months. They say Rosales is more than just a county employee ... she's also a food stamp recipient ... so She knew exactly what she was doing.

A team of investigators from the Fresno County District Attorney's Office ... who asked us to blur their faces ... arrested 37-year-old Anna Maria Rosales at the employment and temporary assistance office in Selma.

"Are you guilty of these accusations?"

"No."

"Did you take the debit card and use it under someone's else's name?"

"I have nothing to say."

Rosales was arrested for a petty theft case dating back to 1995. A week ago, she was taken into custody for stealing food stamps. She is being charged with 10 counts ... including identity theft and fraud.

Rod Spalding said, "They are serious. They're mostly felonies, except for the petty theft."

The DA's office says she obtained personal case information of a 25-year-old Fresno woman who receives a $476-dollar food stamp debit card every month. Using that information, investigators say Rosales was issued a card under the woman's name. The DA's office says she spent more than $300-dollars at Selma area grocery and liquor stores. Despite the small amount, investigators say Rosales' arrest sends a message.

"We feel as though the employee crimes are a priority for us. The county is already hurting for money all the way around whether its welfare fraud or an IHHS fraud or whether its an employee whos only taken $300-dollars. You know had she gotten away with it this time, who knows if she would have done additional cards and tried to get away with it in the future," said Spalding.

The DA's office believes Rosales may not have been working alone. They're investigating further to see if other county employees were involved with the fraud.

The County Office of Employment and Temporary Assistance did not want to comment on this story.

I spoke with the alleged victim in this case. She didn't want to go on camera, but says she was shocked and felt violated ... especially because the theft happened just before Thanksgiving.

The food stamps have since been returned.

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