|For Immediate Release
Case # 08CF2664
October 1, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SAN DIEGO PUBLIC ASSISTANCE WORKER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR FRAUDULENTLY COLLECTING
FOOD STAMPS IN ORANGE COUNTY BY
FAILING TO REPORT INCOME
SANTA ANA – A former Orange County public assistance worker assigned to determining eligibility for Food Stamp applicants will be arraigned tomorrow for fraudulently collecting public assistance from the County by failing to report the income from her new job, working as a public assistance employee for San Diego County. Mariana Perez, 38, San Diego, is charged with three felony counts of perjury by false application for aid and a violation of Welfare and Institution Code for aid by misrepresentation over $400. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of six years and eight months in state prison. Perez is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Between May 1999 and July 2005, Perez was employed by the Orange County Social Services Agency as an Eligibility Technician, assigned to determining eligibility for Orange County residents applying for public assistance. She was assigned to a Food Stamps caseload and her duties included discussing the responsibilities of reporting income with potential public assistance recipients and explaining the consequences if recipients failed to correctly report changes in their income or circumstances to the County. In November 2005, Perez began working for a payday loan company.
While working at the payday loan company, Perez is accused of failing to report her employment and applying for Food Stamps in Orange County in April 2006. With the knowledge of the public assistance system, she is accused of failing to report several months of income in order to qualify for Food Stamps. She is accused of intentionally lying on her application to indicate that she was living with a sister in Costa Mesa, when in fact she had moved from Orange County and was residing in San Diego and Tijuana.
In May 2006, one month after applying for food stamps in Orange County, Perez is accused of being hired by the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency as a Human Services Specialist, which is the equivalent to an Eligibility Technician in Orange County with similar job duties. She is accused of continuing to collect public assistance in Orange County by failing to report her San Diego County income and residency. Perez is accused of fraudulently collecting almost $3,500 in Orange County public assistance by taking advantage of the County program by using her job knowledge to deceive the system.
Deputy District Attorney Christy Gray of the Public Assistance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.