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Nevada woman found guilty of Alaska welfare fraud

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Monica Martinez, 34, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was convicted and sentenced Friday after an Alaska court found her guilty of welfare fraud.

According to the Alaska Department of Law, Martinez had fraudulently applied for and received state public assistance and unemployment insurance benefits from the state for up to two years.

As a result of her crime, Martinez was ordered to pay a total of $40,810.14 in compensation to the state of Alaska. Additionally, Martinez was sentenced to 36 months in jail with 18 months suspended, and a five-year probationary period. She will also be disqualified from participating in the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP) for a period of 12 months and from participating in the Food Stamp Program for 24 months.

Martinez was receiving unemployment insurance benefits from the state of Alaska while employed in Las Vegas. Following an investigation by the Alaska Division of Public Assistance (DPA) Fraud Investigation Unit, it was revealed that Martinez was not eligible for the benefits.

DPA investigators found that for two years, Martinez failed to disclose substantial resources to DPA while receiving public assistance benefits. The resources included bank accounts with monthly balances in excess of $20,000.00. Martinez also failed to declare her management and ownership of two personal care attendant businesses which billed Alaska and Nevada Medicaid in excess of $728,000.00 from 2004 through 2009. Martinez claimed to DPA she was destitute and disabled.

Charges were filed in August 2009, but Martinez had already fled to Las Vegas to avoid prosecution. However, in April 2012, Alaska State Troopers extradited Martinez from Nevada in order to face the Alaska-based charges.