Fla. CFO Atwater’s office nabs woman for over $68,000 in public assistance fraud

jeff atwaterFlorida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s office announced Friday the arrest of a Pensacola woman on two counts of public assistance fraud and one count of identity theft. Rose Gamlin, 55, was charged with stealing $68,501.85 in Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds from her sister who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

According to a release from Atwater’s office:

“This case highlights two ever-growing problems in our state – identity theft and public assistance fraud,” CFO Atwater said. “Identity theft can happen to anyone and often times the predator can be someone you know. By continuing to raise awareness about ID theft and public assistance fraud, we can help protect Floridians from financial ruin. I am proud of our investigators who work to keep dollars from those who cheat the system and help protect those who need it most.”

An investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Public Assistance Fraud and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office determined that Rose Gamlin stole the identity of Mary Bawyn Boutwell, 53, in 1996 while Bawyn lived in Wisconsin. Bawyn tried to apply for public assistance in Wisconsin and was informed that someone using her name and Social Security number was already receiving public assistance benefits in Florida.

Gamlin obtained a Social Security card using Boutwell’s birth certificate. For the past 17 years, Gamlin received public assistance benefits as Mary Bawyn Boutwell and also received her sister’s income tax refunds.

Gamlin previously was charged with fraud in 1996 and sentenced to four years in prison. Her husband was the victim of an accidental shooting in their home during that same year and several years later, Gamlin’s boyfriend also was found dead. Gamlin also faked her own suicide in 1997.

Anyone with information about these or any other incidents of suspected public assistance fraud is asked to call 1-866-762-2237. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous.

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