OXNARD : 2 Plead Guilty in Welfare Fraud Case
The brother of an Oxnard city councilman and a second man have pleaded guilty to charges that they cheated Ventura County out of more than $1,800 in a welfare scheme late last year, a prosecutor said Monday.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Mandee Sanderson said Jesus Herrera, a 27-year-old former county welfare eligibility worker, and Juan DeJesus, a friend of Herrera, each entered a plea Friday to one count of welfare fraud.
Sanderson said the pair will be sentenced Oct. 29 and face as much as one year in jail each. But she said Superior Court Judge Allan Steele advised the two defendants they would probably receive probation.
Jesus Herrera is brother of Oxnard City Councilman Andres Herrera, as is Tomas Herrera, 30, who is also charged in the case. Andres Herrera, a 46-year-old first-term councilman, was not involved in the scheme, prosecutors said.
Tomas Herrera has pleaded not guilty to charges of accessory to fraud and perjury for his part in the alleged scam. His preliminary hearing was postponed until Oct. 26 because his attorney is recovering from surgery, Sanderson said.
Prosecutors alleged that Jesus Herrera used his position as an eligibility worker for the county Public Social Services Agency to wrongly assign his brother the same case number as another welfare recipient.
Jesus Herrera then approved $859 in Aid to Families with Dependent Children payments to his brother, even though Tomas Herrera’s child did not live with him, prosecutors said.
Investigators said Jesus Herrera forged signatures and cashed two welfare checks totaling $820 that were returned to him by legitimate welfare recipients.
Jesus Herrera also approved a $200 emergency welfare payment for a nonexistent child of his 28-year-old neighbor, DeJesus.