3 women charged with nearly $125,000 in fraud, deception

Montgomery County authorities caught up with three women who allegedly have provided false information to receive public housing assistance for several years. The women are not related, but the charges are the same: theft by unlawful taking, welfare fraud, unsworn falsification to authorities, securing the execution of documents by deception and other related offences. The public housing assistance reportedly came from both county and federal coffers.

Two of the women are from North Hills and one is from Pottstown. The Montgomery County District Attorney says that the cases will all be handled separately.

They are accused of providing false information on their rental applications so they could meet the income and eligibility requirements for the Montgomery County Housing Authority and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. All told, the three collected approximately $123,685 in housing benefits.

County authorities say if the women are convicted they will work very hard to get the money back and give it to the needy who truly need the assistance. The three women were released on unsecured bonds after they signed contracts agreeing to appear in court.

Fraud and theft by deception are considered property crimes. But it is up to the state to prove the three defendants knowingly and purposefully provided false documents and information. It is possible that their accountants, banks or employers gave them the wrong records or statements.

The four best possible outcomes for these women if they are represented by the right attorney will be: a dismissal of the charges; an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition outcome that avoids conviction and may allow the women to eventually clear their records; a negotiated plea that minimizes penalties; or an acquittal at trial.

Source: philadelphia.cbslocal.com, "3 Montco Women Charged With Lying on Public Housing Applications," Brad Segall, July 19, 2012

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