An Arizona Democratic lawmaker who voted against Welfare fraud protection measures has been indicted on felony charges for abusing the food stamp program.
State Representative Cecilia Velasquez was charged with three felony counts earlier this week: unlawful use of food stamps, fraudulent schemes and practices, and theft.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security began investigating her back in 2014. They found that Velasquez fraudulently used $1,726 worth of food stamps between 2013 and 2015.
Dem Who Opposed Welfare Fraud Measure Indicted – For Food Stamp Fraud https://t.co/olKmtvNhK7
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In February of this year, Velasquez voted against a bill giving the Arizona DES more anti-fraud tools, which would have quickly detected her fraudulent activity.
“It is appalling that an elected official representing the people of Arizona would steal from the poor, while consistently saying she is trying to help the poor,” said Arizona State Rep. Anthony Kern, who sponsored the DES bill.
Josh Archambault, senior fellow with the Foundation for Government Accountability, said, “There is so much low-hanging fruit to catch in this country when it comes to welfare fraud, and sadly, every day that goes by without reform allows for abuse and steals resources from the truly needy.” He added that the failed legislation that Velasquez voted against is exactly the kind of laws that the country needs in place.
“The indictment of State Representative Velasquez is the culmination of an extensive multi-year investigation,” said Arizona Inspector General Juan J. Arcellana. “The forthcoming judicial proceedings will ensure due process for the involved parties.”
The initial hearing for Velasquez is set for July 5 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
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