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Arrested woman says she's already paying for fraud

A woman arrested Tuesday on a 4-year-old warrant for welfare fraud says money she owes the welfare program has been deducted from her entitlement check for six months.

Kay Stanley Blair, 27, was arrested in the Winn Dixie parking lot in Inverness and booked into the Citrus County Jail about 4 p.m. She was charged with welfare fraud based on a warrant issued four years ago.

"I don't understand why they arrested me and still take money from me," Blair said. "I never received a letter or any notification telling me I had a warrant."

Blair said the state Health and Rehabilitative Service penalized her $1,274 for the period between Nov. 19, 1987, and March 31, 1988. She said social workers were told that her husband had lived with her and her two children during that period, and she was penalized because she gave a false statement concerning where he lived.

According to the arrest warrant, Blair "unlawfully and knowingly by means of false statements or representation, misrepresentation, impersonation or other fraudulent means, failed to disclose a material fact or change in circumstances . . ."

Blair said she recently started receiving welfare checks again and that for the past six months HRS officials have deducted $15 a month from her $288 monthly check.

"I don't want to go to jail for something I'm already trying to pay back," she said. "If I had the money I'd pay it all now, but I'm barely making it."

Pam Brown, an HRS spokeswoman at the Gainesville office, could not comment on the case because of confidentially laws, but, "I don't know what happened in this case. It could be that someone didn't notify someone else."

Blair was arrested when a relative she went to the store with was caught shoplifting a $7 bottle of shampoo. When deputies arrived to investigate the incident, they ran a computer check on Blair and discovered an outstanding warrant for welfare fraud.

"I knew when my cousin got caught I should have left," Blair said. "But I wouldn't because I was worried about her because she was so upset."

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