Riverton woman charged with public welfare fraud, hearing set June 4th

(Riverton, Wyo.) – A 40-year-old Riverton resident charged with unlawfully making false statements to obtain public welfare benefits is slated for a preliminary hearing on June 4th in Ninth District Circuit Court. Fawna Sanchez, also known as Fawna Friday, is alleged to have received $36,370.95 between March 1, 2010 and September 2013, that she was not eligible for.

The charge against defendant Sanchez is a felony, punishable by not more than 10 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $10,000 or both.

An affidavit by Department of Family Services Fraud and Recovery Investigator Dawn Sherwin alleges that Sanchez originally filed an application for health care coverage on March 10, 2010, and listed herself, five children and her spouse, Ruben Sanchez, as household members. The application declared that the household’s only income was from per capita payments. The application was approved.

Sherwin, however, said an income verification check for Ruben Sanchez revealed he was employed by Unit Drilling of Tulsa, Oklahoma since Dec. 28, 2005 to at least April 2013 and that he had earned about $15,108 in four checks from February 12, 2010 to March 26, 2010.

On May 7, 2010, the affidavit alleges that Fawna Sanchez filed an application for benefits for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps, stating she had three children and was pregnant with two babies. In this application, the affidavit alleges that Sanchez did not list Ruben Sanchez as a member of her household. An Absent Parent Form was requested from Fawna Sanchez, but it apparently was never produced, resulting in a termination of benefits on May 31, 2010. Several months later, the defendant allegedly reported to a DFS employee that she “did not want to claim her husband for medical in the household because he was illegal.”

The affidavit further alleges that DFS sent a notice to defendant Sanchez on July 22, 2010, requesting that she complete a change report to add her husband to the case and make a declaration of his income. On July 29th, 2010, Sanchez submitted a Kid Care Chip/Equality Care application for benefits that included Ruben Sanchez as her spouse and that she had three children. The husband’s monthly income was listed at $4,600 for a job “in Pinedale.”

Another income verification check was conducted and it disclosed that Ruben Sanchez had been paid $12,137 over a period of two months, from June 4, 2010 to July 30, 2010.

On February 21, 2013, the affidavit indicated another Kid Care Chip/Equality Care application signed by the defendant was received, that claimed herself, her spouse and five children as household members, and she indicated Ruben Sanchez was not a U.S. Citizen, but still worked for Unit Drilling with income of $3,450 a month.

Another income verification indicated that Ruben Sanchez, during the time in question of the last application, had earned $32,006 during that four month period, or about $8,000 per month.

On May 23rd of 2013, Sherwin interviewed Fawna Sanchez at the DFS field office in Riverton at which time the affidavit alleges that “she (Sanchez) submitted false information on her applications in order to received Medicaid benefits.” Further, Sanchez wrote in a statement, “The information I provided wasn’t the whole amount he made because I wanted someone to contact me so I can explain my situation to a live person.”