Austin couple accused of welfare fraud

Published 10:03 am Thursday, June 4, 2009

A 42-year-old Austin woman and her husband allegedly received more than $30,000 in welfare benefits for three years while not properly reporting their wages.

The Mower County Department of Human Services originally requested local authorities look into the possibility of fraud, detective Jon Juenger of the sheriff’s department said. DHS was questioning the woman’s ability to support a number of people on small welfare earnings.

Mower DHS Director Julie Stevermer said due to privacy regulations, she couldn’t discuss the particular case, but said the office is required by the state to report cases that could reasonably be considered fraud.

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A January search of 1011 Sixth Ave. N.E. revealed nine people in the home at the time with 31 aliases, including various driver’s licenses and Social Security cards.

The period in question is 2004-2006, when the household had employment records and didn’t report $164,487 in earnings. During that time, the two earned $30,964 in welfare payments, according to authorities.

The woman claimed she was an American citizen, but investigators have determined that she is not.

Formal charges have yet to be filed.