GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming man is charged with welfare fraud for allegedly receiving food assistance benefits while in jail.
Ryan Lee Childress, 39, faces charges of food stamp and welfare fraud, both felonies.
His girlfriend also faces a fraud charge.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Grand Rapids District Court, Childress instructed his girlfriend to use his EBT card while he served time in jail in early 2022.
The affidavit reported that Childress and his girlfriend discussed the plan during his incarceration — and their conversation was recorded.
“(His girlfriend) placed money on Childress’ commissary while he was incarcerated at the Kent County Jail and used his EBT card to reimburse herself,” wrote an agent from the Office of Inspector General within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The agent wrote that the girlfriend was observed using Childress’ EBT card, along with her own.
She also allegedly admitted to using Childress’ card for personal purposes.
Law enforcement sources told News 8 the couple’s scheme brought in $2,200.
It’s not clear why Childress was in jail in early 2022, when the alleged offense occurred. The state police criminal history database shows Childress has prior convictions for home invasion, possession of drugs and domestic violence.
According to MDHHS, people who have been incarcerated more than 30 days are not eligible for assistance. Certain criminal convictions and violations of probation or parole also render people ineligible for particular benefits.
The state regularly checks jail and prison rosters against lists of benefit recipients to identify and eradicate fraud.