Colonie woman accused of welfare fraud begins prison sentence

The Colonie woman accused of swindling county entitlement programs to receive benefits began her two to six year prison sentence on Thursday, July 12, according to Albany County District Attorney David Soares' office.

Angela Lopez, 37, of Vanessa Court in Colonie, pleaded guilty in May 2011 to one count of welfare fraud in the second degree and one count of grand larceny in the third degree, both felonies, in Albany County Court. In August 2011, Lopez was sentenced to two to six years in state prison and ordered to pay $65,699 in restitution to the Department of Social Services and $29,697.88 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, according to information from Soares' office.

Lopez appealed her case in New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, arguing that her sentence was "harsh and excessive" but on July 5, her conviction and sentence was upheld, according to information from Soares' office.

"Ms. Lopez took advantage of our entitlement programs, stealing from the families that truly need assistance and the tax payers of Albany County,” said Soares in a statement.

According to information from Soares' office, 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 that time and intentionally failing to report property owned by her family on applications and certifications for Social Security Insurance benefits.

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