Monday, May 28, 2012

A fishy welfare fraud prosecution in Redding?

Via @ReddingHomeless: a nonprofit manager faces 13 felony charges in a welfare fraud prosecution: one of "aid by misrepresentation" and 12 of perjury, all for allegedly failing to report $7,719 in wages from yard work.

That's per the Record Searchlight story, which says the defendant, Mr. Pearle Florence May, is "operations manager of Redding Loaves & Fishes, a Christian ministry that feeds homeless people in Shasta County."

Hm. Even in a hard-handed straitlaced town like Redding, California, is thirteen felony counts a normal penalty to seek for petty welfare chiseling?

I don't know anything about Mr. May personally beyond this article and comments it has provoked, nor about Redding Loaves and Fishes beyond glancing at the group's Web site. I do know that Sacramento Loaves and Fishes is a perennial comforter of the afflicted and afflicter of the comfortable in our state's capital. Also, it has been a terribly long while since I spent much time in Shasta County, but IIRC the mgmt. of that particular town didn't care much for ministries that feed homeless people.

Raises the question whether a slight case of selective book-throwing might be going on up there.

Apparently the charges were filed in February and the first news item appeared in late March. The comment thread at the Record Searchlight filled up with a big several-day argument about welfare. Most of the talk is on the usual dreary general principles but a few commenters mention Mr. May's personal situation, mainly defending him. Not clear what's become of the case since the April 27 arraignment.

Could be more to this story, but from this distance, it looks odd.

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