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Woman claims man is brother, charged with welfare fraud

WILLMAR -- A 21-year-old woman made her first court appearance Thursday on seven felony charges for allegedly receiving public assistance while claiming the man she lived with was her brother and not the father of her two children.

Hawo Mohamed Ali faces one count of wrongfully obtaining assistance and six charges for false declaration in Kandiyohi County District Court. Her next appearance is July 15.

According to the complaint, Ali applied for public assistance in Hennepin County in July 2007. Her application was approved and she was required to accurately report her household composition, employment and income. She moved to Willmar in February 2008 and continued to receive public assistance in Kandiyohi County.

Ali claimed one child and was pregnant with another. She claimed the father of the first child was in Africa and that the man who lived with her was her brother. An investigation revealed that the man was the father of both children. The man, Abdullahi Mohamed Ali, 23, also faces a felony charge of wrongfully obtaining assistance. A warrant for his arrest was issued on June 24 when he failed to appear in court.

If Hawo Mohamed Ali had disclosed her relationship with the man, she would not have been eligible for public assistance. Both were interviewed and allegedly admitted to the deception. The overpayment of benefits was $9,803.66 between March 2008 and September 2009.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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