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A Democratic lawmaker who was opposed to welfare fraud protection in her state has now been indicted – for food stamp fraud.
Arizona state Rep. Cecilia Velasquez has been charged with unlawful use of food stamps, fraudulent schemes and practices, and theft, according to Fox News.
Velasquez defrauded the food stamp program of $1,726 worth of food stamps between 2013 and 2015, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security which began an investigation in 2014.
A bill that would have given the DES more tools to combat fraudulent activities was opposed by Velazquez in February, apparently because it would have exposed her, Fox reported.
The sponsor of the House bill, Arizona state Rep. Anthony Kern, called the indictment “sad.”
“It is appalling that an elected official representing the people of Arizona would steal from the poor, while consistently saying she is trying to help the poor,” Kern told Fox.
“There is so much low-hanging fruit to catch in this country, when it comes to welfare fraud,” said Josh Archambault, senior fellow with the Foundation for Government Accountability. “And sadly, every day that goes by without reform allows for abuse and steals resources from the truly needy.”
Following an investigation by several state agencies, the felony charges against Velasquez were announced this week.
“The indictment of State Representative Velasquez is the culmination of an extensive multi-year investigation,” said Arizona Inspector General Juan J. Arcellana in a statement. “The forthcoming judicial proceedings will ensure due process for the involved parties.”
Velasquez did not respond to a request for comment by Fox News. She did, however, post a comment on her Twitter account.
I have done nothing wrong! This is a political witch hunt. I’m confident that justice WILL prevail once all the facts are known!
— Ceci Velasquez (@cecivelasquez_) June 22, 2016
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