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20 Accused in Welfare Fraud Scheme

February 14, 1998

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ Twenty people were accused of funding lavish lifestyles by defrauding state and federal welfare agencies and insurance companies of millions of dollars.

After the arrests Friday, authorities seized three mobile homes, five Rolls Royces, two Corvettes, one Jaguar and one Mercedes-Benz.

``People with these kinds of assets aren’t supposed to be on public assistance,″ said Jennifer Boharski, deputy director of fraud investigation for the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Authorities believe the scams were coordinated among at least four families. Seven more arrests were expected.

Over the years, the ring received at least $1 million in insurance payoffs. The state welfare agency and the federal Social Security Administration haven’t yet determined how much money they lost to the ring.

The ring members allegedly lied to state and federal officials to obtain welfare payments and staged car thefts and wrecks to collect insurance money.

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