32 arrested for $269k welfare, auto insurance fraud in Tulare County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County District Attorney's Office served dozens of felony arrest warrants for welfare and auto insurance, resulting in the arrest or citation of 32 people earlier this week.

They range in age from 19 to 69, and live in all parts of the county, from Porterville to Farmersville.

Authorities said 28 individuals committed welfare fraud, totaling more than $260,000. The crimes included failure to report income, failure to report changes in household income and trafficking EBT benefits for financial gain.

"The reason we take this so seriously is because these are crimes that impact everybody. Those that are receiving fraudulent welfare benefits are taking away from those that are truly deserving of those benefits. Those that commit auto insurance fraud are obviously raising the premiums for everybody in the state," said Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Robert Dempsie.
Four other people were caught for auto insurance fraud. The district attorney's office said more than $8,000 was stolen in false claims of vehicle theft and accident reports.

Auto insurance fraud can include fraudulently reporting a crash or car theft.

There are also various types of welfare fraud, including failing to report income and selling or trading EBT cards, or food stamps, for financial gain.

If you choose to cheat the system, prosecutors say you could face prison time and risk the chance of receiving benefits again.

In the case of auto insurance fraud, you may never be able to get another policy.

"Because referrals come from so many different sources and because it is a crime that impacts everybody, sometimes in their pocketbook in this way. People are watching, and you will be caught," said Dempsie.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.