News & Politics

Manhattan Millionaires Dupe Government Into Giving Them Nearly $200K in Welfare Benefits

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A couple of Manhattan millionaires were arrested this morning on charges that they ripped off the government to the tune of nearly $200,000 over the past six years by pretending to be poor in order to collect welfare benefits.

We’re not sure what’s more disturbing: the fact that millionaires are allegedly sleazy enough to collect benefits intended for poor people, or that it took six years for authorities to figure it out.

In any event, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office this morning announced the indictment of millionaire couple Salim Bakhsh and his wife, Tirnawati Bakhsh, for bilking welfare money from the government since 2006.

Their scheme wasn’t all that elaborate either — apparently, all you need to do to scam some welfare coin is lie about your income on a form.

According to the indictment, in 2006, the couple filed forms claiming
they took in $338 a week, or roughly $16,000 a year. They also claimed
that they had few — if any — assets.

Only, that was bullshit — the
couple has more than $2.6 million sitting in bank accounts, and own various
properties in Queens and Florida.

“[In 2006] SALIM and TIRNAWATI BAKHSH deposited more than
$900,000 into bank accounts they controlled, and also purchased
property in Winter Haven, Florida for more than $186,000,” the D.A.’s office says. “Over the
course of the charged fraud, which lasted from at least 2006 to 2012,
the defendants controlled more than $2.6 million in multiple Citibank
accounts and deposited approximately $583,000 in cash into their
accounts. In addition to the Winter Haven property, SALIM BAKHSH owns
at least ten additional properties in Hernando County, Florida and at
least two properties in Queens, New York.”

Over six years, these two scammed the system, the Human Resources Administration doled out about $185,000 in
Medicaid benefits to the couple. From 2011 through July 2012, HRA
paid over $13,000 in food stamp benefits to the couple and their
children.

“These defendants abused programs designed to help the neediest among
us,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance says. “Stealing from
taxpayers is simply unacceptable; curbing fraud and abuse is essential
to protect the system for future generations.”

In all, the
couple is charged with one count each of welfare fraud, second-degree
grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny, and eight counts of offering a
false instrument for filing.

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