2 charged with public assistance fraud

Published 10:36 am Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ST. JAMES — Prosecutors have charged two St. James women with public assistance fraud.

According to a press release, 36-year-old Erika Yolanda Gonzalez has been charged with felony wrongfully obtaining assistance and six felony counts of public assistance declaration violation. According to a criminal complaint, she received food support and medical assistance since 2011 without indicating that her husband was working, collecting $15,551 in overpayments.

Forty-two-year-old Heidi Joann Lowery faces the same charges. According to a criminal complaint, she failed to disclose that her ex-husband was living with her and working. She received $13,169 in assistance to which she wasn’t entitled.

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Gonzalez declined comment when reached by phone Monday. A voicemail left at a possible listing for Lowery wasn’t immediately returned.