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Southland : D.A.'s Office Begins Arresting Welfare Payment Fraud Suspects

From Times staff and wire service reports

The district attorney’s office today began arresting 108 people accused of cheating the government out of $1.2 million in welfare payments.

Prosecutors said the suspects in the three-day sweep claimed welfare for nonexistent children, made multiple claims, used false birth certificates, didn’t report earnings and hid assets. In one case, one person defrauded the government out of $75,000, prosecutors said.

Spokesman Al Albergate said this is the first time the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has made such a concerted effort to crack down on a backlog of welfare cheaters. Some cases go back to 1981, he said.

“These are people who have somehow slipped through the cracks, who have not shown up in court, or whatever, hoping we’d forget about them,” he said. “This effort, we hope, will clear out the backlog of those people who can reasonably be found.”

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