COLONIE, N.Y. - Convicted welfare cheat Angela Lopez, the so-called "wealthy welfare mom," is on her way to prison.
The 38-year-old mother of six recently lost an appeal to toss out a conviction that she stole $95,000 in Medicaid, food stamps, and other benefits over a four-year period.
Lopez, from Colonie, claimed her sentence of 2 to 6 years in state prison was too "harsh and excessive" even after she admitted to the crime in a plea deal with the Albany County District Attorney's office in May 2011, pleading guilty to one count of Welfare Fraud and one count of Grand Larceny. At that time, she had already refused an earlier offer of 1 to 3 years and paying full restitution.
In court Thursday, Lopez appeared to regret that earlier decision, by begging the judge to take a $95,000 check she brought with her in order to keep her out of prison. She also tried telling the judge that she was still nursing an infant child.
The judge explained that he could not change the sentence.
In court Thursday, Lopez appeared gaunt and tired while trying to run out of sight of reporters and cameras. A bit different than the Lopez that appeared during her first court appearance in 2010, defiant in a pin-stripped suit and Louis Vuitton bag, cursing in front of school children as she made her way into court.
Between May 2005 and April 2009 Lopez applied for and received Medicaid assistance and food stamps from Albany County Department of Social Services, but failed to report under-the-table income she received during the period of the fraud. This resulted in a total overpayment of Albany County benefits to her of $65,699. Lopez also defrauded the Social Security Administration out of approximately $29,697, by intentionally withholding her under-the-table income and intentionally failing to report property owned by her family on applications and certifications for Social Security Insurance benefits.
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