Woman accused of defrauding system for almost eight years

Published 8:24 am Friday, January 12, 2018


An Austin woman accused of wrongfully receiving more than $30,000 in welfare assistance for almost eight years is facing a felony charge.

Natasha Eileen Woods, 30, appeared Thursday in Mower County District Court on a felony charge of wrongfully obtaining assistance. The fraud allegedly lasted from  Jan. 1, 2010, to  Nov. 30, 2017.

Woods was arrested Tuesday after the Mower County Sheriff’s Office — acting on a welfare fraud referral from the Minnesota Department of Human Services — conducted a search of her home in the 800 block of Fourth Avenue Northeast. Deputies collected items that allegedly support the accusation that Woods and Antonio Dean Taylor had not disclosed they lived together during the years Woods had received welfare assistance. Items included Taylor’s Social Security card, pay stubs, insurance cards, and bank and court documents in Woods’ bedroom.

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Woods denied during the search that Taylor lived at the home.

A sheriff detective’s investigation that included surveillance and reviews of court and financial assistance documents, alleges Woods told police and welfare assistance personnel conflicting things about Taylor’s relationship to Woods and her children. She denied he is the children’s father, despite having the Taylor name.

The child support officer who made the fraud referral told the detective that benefit documents prepared for Woods and Taylor were under the same address.

In a 2017 domestic dispute report, Woods allegedly told police she and Taylor had been in a relationship for “eleven years” and he was the father of her children. Taylor allegedly told the police Woods was his “fiancé.”

Taylor is in the Mower County Jail on unrelated  charges.

Woods’s next court appearance is Jan. 18.