Mother accused of welfare theft
A Pear Park mother is accused of stealing more than $38,000 in public assistance by lying about her household income over four years, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
April Dawn Creasman, 34, failed to report the father of five of her children had been living with her at 478 Fruitwood Drive and supporting her financially as she fraudulently collected $36,362 in food stamps, $834 in Colorado work assistance and $1,321 in Medicaid, the affidavit alleges. The thefts allegedly started in January 2008 and continued through April 2012.
The father’s income, had it been reported to Mesa County Human Services, would have nixed Creasman’s program eligibility.
Creasman was arrested Saturday and released from the Mesa County Jail on Monday after posting a $7,500 bond.
The affidavit said an anonymous tipster in March 2009 reported the father and Creasman were living together.
“The tipster believed (father) worked on the oil/gas rigs and was gone out of town, and that April laughs about defrauding the Department of Human Services and made statements DHS would never be able to prove he lives with her,” the affidavit said.
Records gathered during the investigation showed the father had earned a little more than $99,000 in gross income during 2011, down from a four-year high of more than $107,000 in 2008, the affidavit said. Employment and property records show he lived at 478 Fruitwood Drive and owned the property.
Mesa County child welfare workers opened a case in April 2011 when one of Creasman’s daughters suffered undisclosed injuries, the affidavit said.
“The child/victim told authorities she was ‘not allowed’ to speak with them, as her mother had told her,” the affidavit said.
All seven of Creasman’s children were removed from her home and placed in foster care. A doctor diagnosed several of them with “multiple health concerns/issues” including malnutrition. Creasman received Medicaid benefits and $1,202 a month in food stamps, the affidavit said.
Several of Creasman’s children reported their mother sells her food stamps, but Creasman denied the claims.
“They don’t know anything and they believe in Santa Claus but that doesn’t make it true,” Creasman told an investigator, when confronted with her children’s statements.
Creasman allegedly admitted to social workers the father of five of her children gives her $1,000 to $2,000 every two weeks, but she denied he was living in the home despite her children repeatedly referring to him as “dad,” the affidavit said.
Investigators later found approximately 60 pawn slips under Creasman’s name, including a laptop computer, a Nintendo Wii, a Sony Play Station 3, a digital camera, radio, DVD player, Nintendo, iPad and two Blu-ray players.
“Ownership of such expensive items are not indicative of a client in need of public assistance and shows (father’s) contributions to the household,” the affidavit said.
She repeatedly denied selling her food stamps, insisting she doesn’t get enough in food stamps to feed her children and claiming they’d only “eat Ramen noodles” if that was the case. She also admitted, however, the father of five of her children “pays the bills.”
The father, in a subsequent interview with authorities, acknowledged he financially supported Creasman and all seven of her children.
“I asked why she keeps having children if she can’t afford the ones she already has and she argued she couldn’t help it if her birth control does not work,” an investigator wrote in the affidavit.