Not guilty plea in alleged welfare fraud


AUSTIN, Minn. – A woman is pleading not guilty to charges of welfare fraud.

32-year-old Kristina Marie Swancutt of Austin is charged with two counts of wrongfully obtaining assistance.  Authorities say she falsely applied to Mower County Human Services and received $17,573.80 in medical assistance and $41,657 in food support payments.

In her applications, Swancutt allegedly stated she was unmarried and lived alone.  The Mower County Sheriff’s Office says evidence shows Swancutt has been married for several years to Charles Melvin Dunham and that the two apparently lived together in an apartment before moving into a home owned by Dunham.

Swancutt allegedly told Mower County Human Services she was still paying $550 a month in rent while living with Dunham at his home.

Both charges against Swancutt are felonies, with the most severe punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

She is scheduled to stand trial on April 3, 2017.

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