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Woman gets jail, probation in $21K welfare fraud case

WILLMAR -- Sandra Veronica Martinez, 35, of Clara City, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine and five years of probation on a felony charge of wrongfully ob-taining assistance. Martinez was also ordered to pay $21,065 in restitution.

Her husband, Isidoro Martinez, 29, was sentenced Jan. 28 to 100 days in jail, five years of probation and a $50 fine on the same charge.

The couple pleaded guilty in December in Kandiyohi County District Court to lower-level felony charges of wrongfully obtaining assistance.

The original complaint against the couple notes they lived in Willmar before moving to North Dakota. Court documents now list a Clara City address.

As part of his sentence, Isidoro Martinez was ordered to cooperate with agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to the complaint, the couple applied for assistance from Kandiyohi County Family Services in October 2003.

Their request was approved and, as recipients of assistance, they were required to report income and employment to the county. Isidoro Martinez was listed as being in the country illegally, thus unable to work.

An investigation following an anonymous tip revealed he had been working for Labor Choice under the alias of Bentino Narvaiz Jr. since the third quarter of 2002.

His income was not reported, resulting in an overpayment in benefits of $21,065.32 between Dec. 1, 2003, and Oct. 31, 2006. Documents also show he endorsed several payments in the false name.

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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