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The State

The indictment of two Richmond women capped a massive $1.2-million welfare fraud investigation that included the arrest of nearly 150 people in two years. U.S. attorney Joseph Russoniello said the latest grand jury indictments bring to a close the probe of the welfare fraud operation in Alameda County. So far 58 people previously charged with felonies have been convicted and sentenced to terms ranging up to five years in prison. The latest indictments named Agnes Marie Lee and Lenora Mason on charges of theft of federal funds from the Aid to Families With Dependent Children program. The main organizer of the fraud, Willette Hutcherson, worked in a welfare office approving fake claims, authorities said. She was sentenced to five years in prison in 1984. While awaiting trial, Hutcherson worked as a substitute teacher and reportedly had students write letters to the judge commending her good character.


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