A Perris woman accused of falsifying documents to receive tens of thousands of dollars in welfare benefits, including low-income housing accommodations, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges.
Kimberly Denise Blair was arrested in October following a welfare fraud investigation conducted jointly by the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services’ Anti-Fraud Unit and the Sheriff’s Department.
Blair is charged with fraud to obtain public aid, grand theft, making false statements to a public agency, being a convicted felon in possession of a gun and two counts of perjury.
She was arraigned before Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 15 at the Riverside Hall of Justice and allowed the defendant to remain free on her own recognizance.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. John Burke, detectives and DPSS agents initiated their investigation after evidence surfaced that Blair was allegedly utilizing Section 8 housing and food stamp benefits for which she was not entitled.
Prosecutors said part of the alleged fraud stemmed from the defendant permitting a man, whose identity was not disclosed, to reside with her in their government-subsidized home while he was earning income that exceeded thresholds established for welfare beneficiaries.
The investigation revealed the alleged theft of roughly $105,000 in benefits, Burke said.
A search warrant was served at Blair’s residence in the 800 block of Amaya Drive, just west of the Perris Auto Speedway, on Oct. 23, culminating in the seizure of “income statements substantiating the fraud, evidence of an illegal marijuana grow in the garage and … two illegally possessed firearms,” the sergeant said.
Blair was arrested without incident and soon released from custody. The grow was destroyed.
According to court records, the defendant has two prior felony convictions, though the offenses were not specified.
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