OJAI : Cancun Woman Guilty of Fraud in Welfare Case

A 24-year-old resident of Cancun, Mexico, pleaded guilty Friday to charges that she fraudulently obtained nearly $9,000 in welfare payments that Ventura County officials sent to an Ojai address.

Ileana E. Lizama entered the plea in Ventura County Superior Court on one count of welfare fraud and two counts of com mitting perjury on welfare documents, Deputy Dist. Atty. Scott D. Hendrickson said. Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr. set sentencing for Nov. 3.

Lizama remains in County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Over the prosecutor's objections, Campbell agreed that Lizama would serve no more than one year in County Jail, Hendrickson said.

The charges carry a maximum term of four years and four months in state prison.

Lizama was arrested during a meeting with county officials this month to discuss her welfare eligibility.

Investigators said Lizama, the wife of a Cancun cabdriver, applied for welfare benefits during a brief stay in Ventura County in November.

"You're looking at someone who applied for welfare in this county and immediately returned to Cancun," Hendrickson said.

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