Weather Forecast


Couple sentenced to pay $22K for welfare fraud

WILLMAR -- A Willmar couple was sentenced Thursday to stayed jail time, $250 in fines and five years of probation for wrongfully taking $21,996.88 in public assistance on behalf of their children while they worked under assumed names.

Julian Flores-Reyes, 35, and Martha Hernandez-Serrano, 29, were both sentenced on two felony charges of wrongfully obtaining assistance and offering a forged check.

Both were ordered to pay restitution for the public assistance and ordered to cooperate with agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Flores-Reyes, who is also known as Alexsander Santos-Rodriquez, received a stayed sentence of 13 months. He was also fined a total of $150 and ordered to serve five years of probation. He was also ordered to serve 66 days in jail, with credit for 66 days served. Three additional felony counts and one gross misdemeanor charge against him were dismissed.

Hernandez-Serrano, who is also known as Omaryra Rivera-Vasquez, was ordered to serve one year and one day in prison, which was stayed, $100 in fines and five years of probation. She was ordered to serve 67 days in jail, with credit for 67 days already served. Five additional felony counts and one misdemeanor charge against her were dismissed.

Hernandez was charged in June after an investigation revealed that she and her husband, Flores-Reyes, worked for Jennie-O Turkey Store, under false names. While employed at Jennie-O, the couple received the public assistance. Hernandez-Serrano worked at the company from December 2004 to October 2005 and Flores-Reyes worked there from January 2005 to March 2008.

According to the complaint, Hernandez-Serrano applied for public assistance from Kandiyohi County Family Services on Nov. 28, 2004. She could not apply for benefits because she and her husband are illegal immigrants. The application and six others were signed by the couple between October 2005 and October 2007. All the documents stated that neither was employed.