AUBURN — A Moravia woman has admitted to receiving more than $12,000 in benefits that she wasn't entitled to.
Cindy Chavez, 60, of 6379 Crofoot Road, was one of 32 people arrested in 2015 after a welfare fraud investigation in Cayuga County. At the time, Chavez was charged with nine felonies — third-degree grand larceny, third-degree welfare fraud and seven counts of first-degree filing a false instrument — and misusing food stamps, a class A misdemeanor.
On Thursday, Chavez pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and third-degree welfare fraud, both class D felonies, in full satisfaction of the charges.
During her plea, Chavez told Judge Thomas Leone that she failed to report the income of her daughter who lived with her between February 2011 and July 2014. As a result, she received $12,400 in fraudulent benefits.
Since that time, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said Chavez declared bankruptcy, and $8,000 of the fraud has been forgiven. However, as a condition of her plea of guilty, Chavez will have to pay the remaining $4,000 in restitution.
Chavez could face up to seven years in prison for the fraud. However, Leone agreed to sentence her to five years probation. In addition, if Chavez pays the full restitution in three years, the district attorney said her felonies could be reduced to misdemeanors.
Chavez's sentencing has been scheduled for May 18.
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Also in court:
• A Cato man was sentenced Thursday for possessing child pornography.
Danial Dollinger, of 2794 Wise Road, pleaded guilty in January to one count of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, a class E felony. At the time, the 21-year-old admitted to downloading images of an 8- to 10-year-old boy being abused by an adult male.
At Dollinger's sentencing, Budelmann said the defendant had also been trying to get in touch with a 12-year-old girl and seemed to be "feeding an appetite for this."
In response, Dollinger acknowledged his actions and apologized to the court, noting that he recently sought therapy for the issue.
"I realize it is very wrong ... and I don't intend to do anything like it again," he said.
Leone sentenced Dollinger to six months in jail and 10 years probation. Dollinger will also have to register as a sex offender upon his release.