WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Corrections Deputy was charged with public assistance fraud after investigators accused her of teaming up with her stepfather to defraud the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Belle Glade Housing Authority out of more than $100,000.
Tomika Latanya Mitchell, 33, and her stepfather Willie Eugene Singleton, 59, were released under supervision from the Palm Beach County Jail on Friday morning. Mitchell's mother, 58-year-old Mildred Felton Singleton, who was also arrested on fraud charges, posted a $9,000 surety bond Thursday night.
In addition to public assistance fraud, Mitchell and Willie Singleton have been charged with grand theft of more than $100,000 and organized scheme to defraud more than $50,000. Mildred Singleton also was charged with grand theft over $5,000 and organized scheme to defraud.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Mildred Singleton received an estimated $5,770 in food stamps and Medicaid benefits since September 2009 while claiming her nephew, but failed to report that she lived with her husband, Mitchell, and Mitchell's children. Mildred Singleton also failed to report Mitchell and Willie Singleton's income, the affidavit stated.
The affidavit also states that Willie Singleton and Mitchell defrauded the Belle Glade Housing Authority by failing to report the total household income, which would have made Singleton ineligible to receive utility assistance paid by the housing authority meant to help current, former and disabled farm workers. Singleton and Mitchell also defrauded the Department of Agriculture by not reporting income that made him ineligible to receive discounted monthly rent assistance, resulting in an approximate loss of $148,595.
"It is apparent that Tomika Latanya Mitchell has resided since 2002 as an undisclosed tenant," the affidavit stated, which violates the regulations of the aid that Singleton has received since 2002. Moreover, the affidavit states that in order for the Singletons to qualify for rent assistance, Mitchell allowed the Singletons to claim guardianship of her children.
Mitchell has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation, said sheriff's office spokesman Deputy Eric Davis.
She and Willie Singleton face up 65 years in prison, and Mildred Singleton up 15 years in prison.
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