COLONIE, N.Y. - The "wealthy welfare mom" was sentenced to 2 to 6 years after admitting that she stole $95,000 in public welfare benefits, yet after only seven-months behind bars, Angela Lopez is once again a free woman.
According to the State Department of Corrections, the brazenly unapologetic mother of six from Colonie was paroled in February.
Lopez pleaded guilty to stealing tax payer dollars in food stamps and benefits over a four year period, all while working a nursing job, living in an upscale neighborhood and driving a Lincoln Navigator.
So the NEWS CENTER's Anya Tucker wanted to know: Why is she out so soon?
The Corrections Department says Lopez entered a special boot camp for non-violent criminals. Once successfully completed, those prisoners - including inmates like Lopez - are eligible for early release.
They say that participants in the so-called "shock program" are much less likely to re-offend.
The NEWS CENTER went to Lopez's home for comment on whether or not she had started paying back the citizens of Albany County; the man who answered the door refused to comment.
TIMELINE ON LOPEZ'S CASE:
December 2010 – Lopez was found to have ripped off the Department of Social Services of nearly $100,000 when she received welfare while she allegedly brought in a paycheck and disability benefits. Read more
February 28, 2011 – Appears in court to issue statement to Social Services. Read more
May 11, 2011 – Pleads guilty to one felony charge of welfare fraud and one felony charge of grand larceny. Read more
July 8, 2011 – Withdraws guilty plea. Read more
July 18, 2011 – Appears in court to ask for more time to think about guilty plea and have her sentencing adjourned. Read more
August 5, 2011 – Appear in court, pregnant with her 6th child, to plead guilty again and be sentenced to 2-6 years. Read more
Sept. 14, 2011 – Posted $50,000 bail and was released from prison. Read more
January 20, 2012 - Lopez asked the Albany County District Attorney's office to grant her indigent status, a motion for "poor person status and assignment of counsel" stating that she could not afford her own defense. The motion was denied. Read more
July 5, 2012 – Looses appeal to have her conviction overturned. Read more
July 12, 2012 – Sentenced to two to six years in prison. While in court begs judge to take a check for $95,000 to avoid prison. Read more
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