SHERIDAN — A former Sheridan woman pleaded guilty in Sheridan County’s 4th Judicial District Court May 28 to a felony charge of making a fraudulent claim for food stamps.
The admittance of guilt was part of a plea bargain to get prosecutors to drop four other felony charges related to defrauding both the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid.
Farrah Richards faced the charges stemming from claims she made for SNAP funds in 2010. According to court documents, Richards applied for the welfare benefit four times during the calendar year and failed to disclose her employment as a source of income.
When the Department of Family Services inquired of Richards how she paid for housing and utilities, Richards had friends and family members write letters stating they had lent her money for that purpose.
As a result of the fraudulent claim, Richards received a cumulative $5,895 in SNAP funding. During the same timeframe, Richards and her husband accumulated $3,053.18 in medical bills that were paid by Medicaid after another application inaccurately reflected the family’s actual monthly earnings.
The plea deal was reached in lieu of a jury trial.
Judge John Fenn sentenced Richards to a five years of probation and a suspended prison sentence of three to five years. He also ordered her to pay $1,015 in fines and fees and $3,943.18 in restitution.
Richard could have faced up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each offense.