A wealthy chiropractor and his girlfriend lived in a $1.2 million waterfront mansion and drove a Jaguar, but still accepted monthly welfare checks. For eight years the Seattle couple collected taxpayer funded assistance checks while living in the lap of luxury.
After traveling the world, funded at least in part on the taxpayer’s dime, a federal judge slapped the cuffs on the deceptive couple. Chiropractor David Silverstein, 60, and Lyudmila Shimonova, 52, were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Shimonova was ordered to pay $261,000 in restitution. Silverstein must pay $334,000 in restitution and a $30,000 fine, KOMO News notes.
Even though the shady doctor and his lady love lost their waterfront view for the next year and a half, it still feels like they are getting off too light. According to court documents details republished by the Daily Mail, the wealthy chiropractor pretended that he was Shimonva’s landlord, even though he lived at the Lake Washington mansion as well. Shimonova’s two children also lived at the home.
Prosecutors in the case stated that the couple garnered more than $1,200 every month in federal housing assistance. Shimonova also received $1,000 in Social Security and state benefits, according to court case reports. The doctor’s girlfriend was also the proud owner of a $17,000 pair of diamond earrings, and a platinum, and diamond ring valued at $12,500.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help those whose assets fall beneath a specific fiscal threshold or cannot work due to disability or age. Federal welfare fraud investigator Michael Radyshewsky noted in an application filed to gain access for a home search, that the couple took trips to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Moscow, Israel, and France between 2003 and 2009.
The convicted couple is obviously to blame for their own actions, but is the public assistance system a co-conspirator for not thoroughly reviewing the applicants, their banks accounts, and conducting routine home visits?