Texeiras sentenced for welfare fraud

A husband and wife both agreed to plead guilty to theft charges in Fifth Circuit Court Thursday, Judge George Masuoka presiding.

Michael A. and Verrina Texeira unlawfully obtained $10,796 in welfare benefits by submitting fraudulent income information, according to records stated in court by County Prosecutor Michael Soong.

The couple reported they were doing volunteer work but a Department of Human Services investigation found they were not doing such work. They would have been found ineligible if the correct income was reported, Soong said.

Michael Texeira was hesitant to plead in an unrelated case involving terroristic threatening against his nephew in March 2001, but both cases were resolved.

The plea deal dropped one charge each of family abuse and terroristic threatening, and in the welfare fraud case, all 30 counts of falsifying documents were dismissed.

They will be sentenced May 15. They may be disqualified from welfare benefits. Verrina Texeira faces a maximum $10,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment. Michael Texeira faces a maximum $20,000 fine and 20 years after pleading to two Class C felonies for which terms may be doubled, though the state did not recommend enhanced or extended sentencing.

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