Welfare fraud sweep nets 15 arrests

In an early morning sweep Tuesday, county and state investigators arrested 15 of 32 criminal defendants with outstanding warrants accused of collectively pocketing more than a quarter of a million dollars in fraudulent public assistance payments, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Two of the 15 arrested on welfare fraud charges were from the Antelope Valley.

Rodney Lamar Gray, 41, of Lancaster, was arrested on suspicion of stealing $600 in public assistance payments, and Jeanette Nunley, 48, of Littlerock, was arrested on suspicion of stealing $720 in public assistance payments, according to Shiara Davila of the District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators also made arrests in Bellflower, Long Beach and Los Angeles. One arrest was made in San Bernardino County in the city of Chino Hills. Five defendants surrendered.

“Public assistance fraud is especially despicable in this economic climate in which federal and state budget cuts have increased the vulnerability of needy, elderly and disabled individuals,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley in a statement. “Truly needy people may go without as a direct result of a few greedy criminals.”

Among those facing welfare fraud charges is 45-year-old Tabetha Sherelle Birdsong of Los Angeles who allegedly stole nearly $38,000 between 2007 and 2011.

Birdsong is accused of defrauding In Home Supportive Services (IHSS), a program for the elderly and disabled. Birdsong, who was a provider, allegedly received payment for a woman who had been dead since 2009. Birdsong, a provider for multiple IHSS recipients, additionally received more than $17,000 in food stamps and more than $18,000 from CalWORKS – a welfare program of cash aid and services for eligible families – by failing to report her IHSS income.

Also charged are Reginald Ray Peoples, 54, of Van Nuys, and Corrina Martha Luna, 50, of Chino Hills.

Peoples, an IHSS recipient whose provider died more than two years ago, is accused of forging his provider’s signature for the purpose of fraudulently billing IHSS and cashing almost $20,500 in payments.

Luna is accused of fraudulently listing her sister as an IHSS provider for herself, her husband and her son. Luna’s sister, however, never was a provider for any of them and was unaware of the fraudulent dealings that purportedly netted Luna more than $13,300.

In 2011, prosecutors of the Public Assistance Fraud Division filed felony complaints against 108 defendants for IHSS theft which alone accounted for a total loss of more than $710,000. These defendants also were charged with theft from other public assistance programs amounting to a total loss of more than $1.5 million.

Investigators from the District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services and the California Department of Health Care Services participated in Tuesday’s sweep.

(Information via press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office.)

  11 comments for “Welfare fraud sweep nets 15 arrests

  1. AV Town Crier
    December 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

    As a reporter (and frequent critic of Lancaster)I have witnessed the deputies of both sheriff’s station in action. A vast, vast majority of them are top-notch. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a sergeant or even the watch commander nix an operation on Constitutional grounds (you never read about that). I have listen to them discuss a plan before they execute it and I have NEVER heard them use race or gender as an excuse to go out and bust someone.

    I have yet to meet a deputy that truly didn’t care about we citizens.

    Yeah, they have a dirty f**king job to do with people who aren’t too willing to cooperate with them. Cops get shot and killed everyday doing just a routine traffic stop.

    Yeah, like any other job, you do have few bad eggs. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made. They’re human and not perfect. We all make mistakes. Yes, it’s scary when cops do it. But at least in the AV, i don’t think it’s prevalent. I think the deputies out here are top-notch. Whenever I’m out in the field covering a crime in a bad area, I always feel safe when they are on scene.

    I know I will get a lot of heat for backing our sheriff’s department–but so be it–I stand behind them 100%

    • Jo
      December 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      I doubt you’ll be giving to hard a time town crier. There are some truly awesome sheriffs out there. Unfortunately it only takes a couple of bad ones to promote the “bad taste” in peoples mouths. If you read the article I posted on the thread Sick cussed me out on, you’ll see where the few “bad” were never weeded out, and where many of the “good” have been passed over for years. One 58 times. A record. Like any profession, you got the good, the bad and the ugly. I can handle good and ugly. But the bad gotta go.

  2. sickntiredofbs
    December 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

    how many from Lancaster & palmdale? every time i go to the store its only a matter of minutes before some 600 lb ninny comes waddling up to a register with her four carts of groceries and whips out her California “Advantage” card (EBT). of course, this Heffer has the best steaks you can buy, lobster tails, organic this-organic that, all taken out in one swoop of the EBT card. Then the overweight Cow barks to the cashier: “Get me somebody to load this stuff up in my car!!!!!” theres so much welfraud fraud in this town that its sickening!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jo
      December 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Exaggerate much?

      • sickntiredofbs
        December 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

        come over to Palmdale and check out Smart-N-Final. It draws welfraud fraudsters like flies to horse-sh!t because they can get Costco sized items without paying a membership fee.

        • getYOURlife.COM
          October 11, 2012 at 12:35 am

          WHY THE HELL DO YOU CARE what people have in their grocery carts? What are you a food Nazi? Regardless of whether they eat organic or not ( As if your lying ass was searching labels in someone’s “FOUR” baskets- rolls eyes), If they have $300 on the EBT card and they choose to spend ALL of it on scavengers like “lobster” and “organic” vegetables and that only lasts them for 2 weeks, HOW THE HELL does that effect you?

          You would prefer poor people eat greasy foods, starches and fake foods like Top Ramen and rotted fruit with pesticides so that they get ill and then have to rely on health care programs for the poor?


    • Stinger
      December 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      One from Lancaster (for a whopping $600), none from Palmdale, One from Littlerock (for a huge $720)… Out of a few THOUSAND recipients. That is a less than 1% fraud rate. Definitely NOT, “…so much welfraud fraud in this town that its sickening.”

      I know, I know; your mind is made up, so stop trying to waste our mutual time with FACTS that don’t fit your racist stereotypes.

      Enjoy the koolaid.

      • sickntiredofbs
        December 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

        racist stereotypes???? what race am I? you dont know. you probably think im some 60 year old bitter white republican guy. Not at all. but you think that about me because it is YOU who is the true RACIST!!!

        • Jo
          December 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm

          LOL. Yeah, no assuming on your part Sick. Just telling us what others are now “thinking”. Talk about nasty and bitter!

          • Marissa
            December 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

            Hmm, 60 year old, bitter, white republican guy, with a white beard and a Santa complex.. Who could it be??

          • Stinger
            December 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm


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