Business owner accused of welfare fraud

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WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Girard woman has been indicted by the Trumbull County grand jury on grand theft charges alleging she defrauded the state in cash, food assistance and medical benefits in the amount of nearly $100,000.

According to a grand jury indictment, Holly Kahn-Webber, 37, of Warren, received benefits from April of 2007 to May of 2013 while owning and operating her own tattoo business. Kahn-Webber allegedly defrauded the government by not reporting her business or earnings she received.

The 12-count indictment includes 11 felony counts of tampering with evidence and one felony count of grand theft in the amount of $99,501.

WKBN interviewed Kahn-Webber in 2009 when she was trying to obtain rental space to expand her Girard tattoo business Hollywood Ink, but felt she was being met with prejudice by property owners because of her profession.

“It just doesn’t make any sense in this economy the way it is. I mean, you would think they would want to make some money,” Kahn-Webber said at the time.

In the 2009 interview, Kahn-Webber said she had been running a tattoo parlor in Girard for four years and wanted to expand to Youngstown.

A website out of Las Vegas shows Kahn-Webber as a featured tattoo artists at the Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth scheduled for September of 2014.

Kahn-Webber has not yet been arrested, but she is set to be arraigned Friday morning.

This case is just one example of welfare fraud, which has cost Mahoning County taxpayers nearly $200,000 this year alone.

Audrey Morales, supervisor for the Mahoning County Job and Family Services Fraud Department, said it’s not all welfare fraud. Some of it is overpayment of benefits.

Fraud is prevalent in this area, but Morales said simplified reporting and help from the federal government makes it easier to crack down on those who may be trying to get around the system.

“We get 6,000 matches per quarter that will let us know if someone is receiving public assistance, claiming taxes, filing taxes, or having some other income, so the federal government is good at giving the counties that inform by delivering that information to us and we can check it from there if someone is getting other benefits,” Morales said.

One of the biggest welfare fraud schemes going on right now is is people selling their food stamp cards for cash.

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