A couple on welfare in Minnesota collected more than $167,000 in benefits during a seven year period, but all they while they were living on a $1.2 million yacht and driving a $30,000 Lexus.
The couple, 54-year-old Andrea Chisholm and 62-year-old Colin Chisholm III, allegedly claimed to be Scottish aristocrats on the run. But as they lived the royal lifestyle the couple was on welfare and collecting benefits ranging from food stamps to medical assistance.
There are now charges pending in Minnesota State court and a manhunt on for the couple, who reportedly fled as the investigation zeroed in on them.
“Mr…. sorry. Lord and Lady Chisholm the third, are fraudsters of the first degree,” said Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman. “These folks ripped off the system.”
Authorities said the couple hid nearly $3 million they had in various bank accounts, and also lied about the lakeside homes they lived in after moving to Minnesota.
The couple on welfare reportedly claimed that they were living with Andrea’s mother in Minnesota, but within a few weeks of filing for assistance they bought an 83-foot yacht in Florida, where they lived for more than two years. As they were collecting benefits in Minnesota, the couple also applied for welfare in Florida.
“It is truly outrageous when persons of considerable means steal from the government and all of us taxpayers through abusing the social welfare system,” Freeman said. “We will prosecute this case with all the capacity we have.
There appears to be more welfare fraud from the couple. Authorities said Andrea failed to report income from a dog kennel and breeding company she owned, and that Colin started a number of fake businesses.
“Mr. Chisholm, in particular, is a con man of the first order,” said Freeman. “He created all sorts of false companies. He claimed he was a Scottish heir (‘Lord’ Chisholm). ‘Lady’ Chisholm participated in these frauds and it is outrageous.”
Authorities say they are seeking harsh penalties for the couple on welfare.