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2 area women charged with welfare fraud

By Kristen Bishop 340-2443

A statewide effort by Attorney General Troy King to investigate welfare fraud led to two area arrests this month, according to a statement King's office released Wednesday.

Ginger Diane Terry, 41, a former resident of Hillsboro who is currently jailed at Tutwiler Prison for Women, pleaded guilty in Lawrence County Circuit Court on Jan. 26 to second-degree theft of property in the amount of $1,644.

Terry falsified welfare application forms to continue receiving benefits while she was in jail, authorities said.

The court sentenced Terry as a habitual offender to 10 years in prison to run concurrently with a sentence she is serving for manslaughter and felony drunk driving.

Tiffany Thompson, 35, of Decatur pleaded guilty in Morgan County Circuit Court on Tuesday to third-degree theft of property in the amount of $2,746.

Thompson was sentenced to one year in prison, which was suspended, and placed on probation for two years. The court ordered her to pay full restitution to the state.

Courts across the state found six other women guilty of similar charges this month. According to the attorney general's statement, prosecutions are pending in 31 counties.

"Accountability in government begins with being a good steward of taxpayers' funds," said King. "When people lie to receive welfare benefits to which they are not entitled, they are committing a crime against the state, the taxpaying public and those who are truly deserving of welfare benefits."

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