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Maserati owner arrested in welfare fraud sweep [Updated]

May 28, 2010 | 11:57 am

A Cerritos woman was due in court Friday after being arrested in a massive welfare fraud sweep for receiving more than $60,000 in welfare benefits while allegedly concealing her ownership of a business, home and Maserati sports car. [Updated 12:33 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the benefits were worth more than $200,000.]

Tangela Ridgeway, 35, was arrested earlier this week with eight other alleged welfare scammers. She is charged with 16 counts of welfare fraud, including aid by misrepresentation and perjury by false application for aid, and 14 counts of perjury by declaration, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Ridgeway is accused of failing to disclose that she owned a business, property and several vehicles. Investigators seized her 2006 Maserati and Nissan SUV and discovered large amounts of unreported income and bank accounts, according to prosecutors.

Ridgeway, whose bail is $395,000, faces a maximum term of 19 years in state prison if convicted.

Another of those arrested and charged, Alicia Garcia, 51, also is accused of major fraud. She was charged with one count of false statements to receive healthcare, three counts of aid by misrepresentation and four counts of perjury by false application for aid.

Garcia allegedly received more than $136,000 in public assistance benefits from January 2002 to April 2010. During the time she claimed benefits, Garcia allegedly failed to report her real income, ownership of property, vehicles and bank accounts and also failed to report a spouse in the home.

Garcia is being held on $45,000 bail. If convicted as charged, she faces a maximum state prison term of nine years.

-- Richard Winton