Seattle Woman Collected Welfare in $1.2 Million House

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By some measures, she seemed to be just another American struggling to cope with a sputtering economy, and in need of serious relief. She received public aid in the form of housing vouchers, food stamps, even monthly cash stipends.

But as it turns out, the Seattle resident had one particular asset that seems to undercut that perception: the woman, whose name has not been revealed by the news station that reported her story, King 5 News, lives in -- and presumably pays a mortgage on -- a $1.2 million house (pictured left).

That would seem to surely come as infuriating news to the millions of Americans who have lost their homes to foreclosure and may not even qualify for the programs the woman has reportedly been exploiting. Of the roughly 42.2 million Americans who took out mortgages between 2004 and 2008, 2.7 million of those households have lost their homes to foreclosure, according to recent research by the Center for Responsible Lending. The organization estimates that an additional 3.6 million households are at "immediate, serious risk" of losing their homes, suggesting that the foreclosure crisis is not even halfway finished.

Federal agents last week reportedly raided the woman's home, which sits on a coveted Lake Washington waterfront lot, to put an end to her presumed freeloading. According to King 5 News, search warrants indicate that the woman received a flabbergasting amount of aid for someone living in a luxury home: more than $1,200 a month in housing vouchers, food stamps and cash from federal and state governments for a disability.

How could this have happened?

A brief review of federal nutrition assistance and housing voucher programs on government websites doesn't seem to provide a clear answer. Both programs seem to be required to evaluate an applicant's eligibility based on earnings, utility bills, mortgage or rent, and family size, in addition to other factors.

What's more, records reportedly indicate that the woman provided her actual address on her applications for the different programs. Records also are said to show that the couple made donations to charities and traveled to destinations like Turkey and Israel.

One issue may be, a federal official told King 5 News on condition of anonymity, that the programs don't evaluate the financial implications of a person's address.


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Seattle Woman Collected Welfare in $1.2 Million House

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Unemployment: 7.6%
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Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +35%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,743
Unemployment: 11.2%
% home value down from peak: -59.3%

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# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,348
Unemployment: 11%
% home value down from peak: -59.1%

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Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +41%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,174
Unemployment: 14.9%
% home value down from peak: -54%

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Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +44%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,039
Unemployment: 11.6%
% home value down from peak: -53.4%

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Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +49%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,559
Unemployment: 9.5%
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Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +57%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 1,673
Unemployment: 11%
% home value down from peak: -51.4%

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# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,003
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Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +151%
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