N.Y. -- A local couple, paid to work on special assignments for the U.S.
government, are facing charges of welfare fraud.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said Lailuma Meherdil, 44, and
her husband Amirjan Hayattulah, 47, are both facing charges of Welfare Fraud,
Grand Larceny and Offering a False Instrument for Filing.
The Albany County Sheriff's Office says the husband and wife are
both currently at the county jail, after the two allegedly applied for and
received welfare benefits and housing at Manor Sites, run by the Cohoes Housing
Apple said the couple failed to claim the over $150,000 income
they were making working as government contractors. The welfare benefits they
allegedly received exceeded $3,000, according to court documents.
vehicle was stopped by authorities and they say they found Amirjian Hayatullah
in the rear passenger seat.
In court, prosecutors alleged that Meherdil was employed as a
translator for contractor SOS International LLC, and that her husband worked
for another U.S. contractor as an actor.
His attorney says Hayattulah played "indigenous
characters" during military training exercises.
Apple credits good investigative work by the Department of Social
Services for first detecting discrepancies in this case.
Meherdil was arrested on Thursday, January
23, by Albany County Sheriff's Investigators. However, her husband was unable
to be apprehended after surveillance on their residence.
Friday, January 31, Meherdil, who was incarcerated, wrote a letter to Sheriff's
Investigators. She stated in the letter that she had received a visit from her
husband. He allegedly told Meherdil that if she revealed his hiding location,
he would kill her.
Investigators resumed surveillance at the home and found the couple's son,
Neshta Hayatullah, leaving the home. Teams followed the son, according to
Albany County Sheriff's, and witnessed a man exiting a wooded area and entering
the son's vehicle.
pleaded not guilty to the charges. His son, Neshat Hayatullah, is also facing
an obstruction charge for allegedly helping his father evade police.
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