Aurelia Ramirez Got Cash and Food Stamps for 11 Years Because Her Husband Was Away. But He Wasn't

On Dec. 6, 1991,

Aurelia Ramirez

first applied for public assistance for her nine children through a county program that gives cash and food stamps to families that have an absent parent--in her case, a husband who lived and worked in Mexico.

She continued to get taxpayer-funded help until authorities discovered her husband had been living with her and the kids in Santa Ana all along, that the couple owned a home since 2000, and that the breadwinner knew nothing about the nearly $80,000 in public assistance the Mrs. illegally drew for more than a decade.

Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office
Besides jail and an $80,000 restitution order, Aurelia Ramirez may be deported after serving her sentence.

The Orange County district attorney's office statement on Ramirez's conviction, jail sentence and restitution order follows:

February 10, 2011

*Defendant was also ordered to pay over $79,000 in restitution

SANTA ANA - A woman has been convicted and sentenced for fraudulently applying for and illegally receiving over $79,000 in cash aid and food stamps. Aurelia Ramirez, 45, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to the court yesterday, Feb. 9, 2011, to one felony count of receiving aid by misrepresentation over $400 and nine felony counts of perjury by false application for aid. She was ordered to pay $80,000 in restitution and sentenced to 180 days in jail. The defendant is subject to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold and will be deported upon completion of her sentence.

Beginning Dec. 6, 1991, Ramirez fraudulently applied for public assistance for her nine children through the Orange County Department of Social Services by signing under penalty of perjury that her husband lived and worked in Mexico. Ramirez fraudulently collected over $79,000 in public assistance by lying on her application and failing to report that her husband had three jobs, lived with her and their nine children, and owned a home in Orange County since 2000. Had she disclosed this information, she could not have qualified for assistance under the CalWORKs absent parent depravation rule. The State-funded program provides cash aid and food stamps to families with children who have one parent who is continually absent from the home in which the child is living and/or when the principal wage earner parent is unemployed. Ramirez' husband was unaware the defendant had fraudulently applied for and received over $79,000 in public assistance. 

Ramirez continued to lie about her status for 11 years. Recipients of cash aid and food stamp benefits must submit a form every three months for review to ensure they are still aid-eligible under program rules.

Deputy District Attorney Janice Chieffo of the Public Assistance Division prosecuted this case.


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