Padillas sentenced to jail time in welfare fraud cases

Both Tony and Venica Padilla were led out of Judge Brian Flynn’s courtroom this morning in handcuffs, each ordered to serve jail time as a result of their previous guilty pleas in one of the largest welfare fraud cases in Mesa County history.

Flynn imposed a 90-day jail sentence on Tony Padilla, who has a prior criminal record that includes four previous felony convictions. He will also spend 10 years on probation as a result of the conviction.

Venica Padilla, a former senior case manager with the Department of Human Services’ child welfare division, received a 30-day jail sentence. She has no prior criminal history, and her four-year deferred judgement means she could potentially erase the conviction if she stays out of trouble over the next four years.

Both pleaded guilty in January to single counts of felony theft.

The Padillas were charged in September 2011 of defrauding an adoption subsidy program of more than $53,000 by claiming they were financially supporting two adopted daughters between September 2003 and November 2009, according to arrest warrant affidavits.

Both will jointly be required to pay back the more than $53,000 defrauded from taxpayers in the scheme.



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