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A 31-year-old woman has been ordered to pay back nearly $30,000 to the James City County Department of Social Services after lying about how much she earned to receive welfare benefits.
Tiffany Rae Williams will also have to serve 15 days in jail for the four misdemeanor welfare fraud charges for which she was convicted in May.
Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Judge Michael McGinty sentenced Williams to 12 months on each of the four charges Wednesday. He suspended all but 15 days of the sentence and is allowing her to serve her time on weekends.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors reduced the charges from felonies to misdemeanors on the condition that Williams pay back the $29,804 prosecutors say she received after lying about her income.
She received the welfare benefits between June 2008 and April 2011 from the Supplemental and Nutrition Assistance and Temporary Assistance for Need Families benefits programs.
Williams’ attorney Tom Turbeville said his client is committed to paying $10,000 a year until the total is paid.
He said Williams has been steadily employed for several years, often working more than one job to take care of her four children.
McGinty said he was impressed by her strong work history but recognized she “got used to” under-reporting what she was making.
“Ironically, as Mr. Turbeville pointed out, [working two jobs] was part of the issue,” he said.