One couple that had been collecting welfare while living in a luxurious waterfront home would appear to have just learned an important lesson: Don't mess with Uncle Sam.
The two Seattle residents drew widespread media attention last year after reports emerged that they had been collecting housing vouchers, food stamps and monthly cash stipends while living in a $1.2 million house.
Now they may pay a hefty price for lining their pockets with taxpayers' money: David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova face up to 10 years in prison and must pay at least $500,000 in fines, after pleading guilty Thursday to theft of government funds, Seattle news outlets are reporting.
In November of last year, federal agents raided the waterfront Lake Washington home where the two were living, to put a stop to their scheme. KING-TV in Seattle reported that the woman had been receiving a staggering 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.
The pair had managed to qualify for the money by lying on applications at least seven times over the years, The Seattle Times reports. They reportedly accepted more than $135,000-worth of housing aid, in addition to other assistance.
One reason that the pair was able to avoid detection is that the welfare programs that they exploited do not review the financial implications of a person's address, which Shimonova accurately recorded on her applications.
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