Watertown woman illegally receives state assistance benefits

Ashley Thompson

JUNEAU — A 28-year-old Watertown woman was sentenced Tuesday for her role in illegally receiving state public assistance benefits.

Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Martin De Vries sentenced Ashley Thompson to five years of probation for public assistance fraud requiring her to maintain full-time employment and pay $49,560.05 of the misallocated money back to Dodge County and the State of Wisconsin.

In February 2018, the Dodge County Economic Support Agency found a discrepancy with Thompson’s earnings and questioned her for documentation. Thompson submitted a fraudulent earnings form reporting her hourly wage and hours worked per week significantly lower than they actually were. The same agency also requested verification of Thompson’s household composition after finding the father of Thompson’s children lived at the same residence, according to the Child Support Agency. Thompson provided a copy of the lease agreement, which it appeared to have a name “whited out” altering the document.

Law enforcement authorities investigated and confirmed Thompson and her significant other have been living at the same residence since 2014. During 2014-18, Thompson received thousands of dollars in benefits from Dodge County and the State of Wisconsin from FoodShare Wisconsin and Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy payments, knowing her household income was “well above the limit” to receive any benefits.

Before sentencing, Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said public assistance programs are for those who need it.

“We have public assistance benefit programs to act as a safety net for those in our community, who truly need assistance in a time of crisis,” Klomberg said. “When an able bodied, employable person takes these benefits fraudulently, it is effectively sticking their hand in the pocket of the taxpayers to steal money meant to feed the hungry.”

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