MugShot_Richards, HelenHelen Richards, 56, of Lawrence Lake Drive, Plymouth was sentenced April 11, in Marshall Superior Court number one upon her plea of guilty to Welfare Fraud as a Level 6 felony.  Pursuant to a plea agreement between Deputy Prosecutor Lynn Berndt and defense counsel Marc Morrison, Richards was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment at the Indiana Department of Corrections, 24 months of the sentence was suspended and she was ordered direct placement for 6 months with Marshall County Community Corrections.  She was fined a dollar and court costs and upon her release she is placed on probation for two years with a term being restitution of $27,168 to the Family Social Services Administration of the State of Indiana.

Richards was charged in two counts of fraudulently receiving public assistance from February 1, 2011 to August 31, 2015.  During that period she received a total of $27,168 but failed to report that she resided with her husband, he was gainfully employed and generating income for the household, and that she maintained a joint checking account with him.

Richards had been arrested in August 2016 and had posted $10,000 bond to secure her release.  After the payment of fines, court costs and attorney fees, the balance of approximately $8200 was applied to the first installment of restitution.  The sentence calls for Mrs. Richards to make full restitution by the end of her probationary term.

Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman expressed his approval of the agreement, the acknowledgment of responsibility by the defendant, and the assignment of bond to restitution, with full restitution to come.  “These type of offenses are particularly galling when someone so brazenly lies in order to obtain a substantial sum of money over a protracted period of time from the limited resources that law abiding citizens provide through their taxes to assist the truly needy.  One can only wonder how many of these cases are out there that are not detected.  I encourage state agencies to remain vigilant in detecting cases of such fraud.”