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A chiropractor and his wife collected more than $135,000 in federal housing assistance, all while living in a $1.2 million waterfront home in Seattle. David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova were sued by the U.S. attorney's office for welfare fraud.
Prosecutors demand that they pay back the funds and thousands of dollars in fines.
Shimonova claimed that stated she lived alone with her two children in the Seattle home. She represented that Silverstein was her landlord, and that she only had assets of less than $5,000.
The couple allegedly traveled to Moscow, Paris, and the Dominican Republic -- all while on public assistance. Shimonova received public funds including food stamps and support checks from programs aimed at helping low-income individuals afford food. She also received housing assistance starting in 2003.
Evidence seized at the house indicates that the couple was actually married, despite Shimonova's claims to the contrary. Authorities noted that Silverstein's Jaguar sedan was often parked outside the house. His "home address" was actually his clinic, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
If the facts alleged are true, Shimonova and Silverstein may be facing a tough legal battle. Welfare fraud is committed when someone intentionally misstates or fails to reveal information that may result in false eligibility or overpayments of benefits.
By misstating that she was single and only had a limited number of assets, Lyudmila Shimonova was misleading the public agencies she applied to. There is no indication that the Seattle welfare fraud was actually the result of an accident.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.