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Public Assistance Fraud Arrest Made in Orlando, Warrant Outstanding for Co-Defendant


For Immediate Release:
May 26, 2017
Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413–2842
ORLANDO, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced that fraud investigators have arrested Janet Lugo for her alleged role in a public assistance fraud scheme that resulted in the theft of nearly $8,000 in public benefits. In concert with Juan Carlos Maldonado Ortiz, her significant other and co-defendant, the pair allegedly lied on public assistance applications and underreported Maldonado’s income in order to collect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, and Medicaid benefits that they were not eligible to receive.
The investigation conducted by the Department of Financial Services revealed that between August 2014 and February 2016, Lugo, a City of Orlando employee, allegedly completed, signed, and verified Maldonado’s income as if she were Maldonado’s employer.
By underreporting his income and falsely claiming to make only $120/week, Maldonado qualified for Medicaid and SNAP benefits. In total, more than $1,900 in Medicaid benefits were paid out in addition to more than $5,770 in SNAP benefits.
Janet Lugo was arrested Wednesday, and a warrant is out for Maldonado’s arrest. Both are charged with fraud and face up to five years in prison if convicted.
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Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses; and providing transparency and accountability in spending.