SANTA ANA, Calif.- A mother and daughter lived a lavish lifestyle while collecting welfare, section 8, and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS).
Errica Madkins Mickens 55, and her daughter, Brittany Monet Mickens, 29, both of Westminster, have been charged with felony welfare fraud for bilking the Orange County’s Housing Authority (Section 8) and the County’s In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program of over $190,000, the largest fraud scheme in Orange County History.
The mother and daughter pair were arrested on Thursday, August 1, 2019, by investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s Public Assistance Division. Through investigation it was learned that the women used multiple birth certificates and identification cards in order to gain eligibility for public programs while concealing their true identities.
The OC District Attorney’s investigators said that Errica Mickens is a IHSS client receiving the maximum benefit of 285 hours. This benefit is reserved for the most disabled clients. In order to receive this benefit, it was reported that Errica Mickens was not able to walk or speak. Her daughter, Brittany Mickens was serving as her in-home care provider.
During the investigation, Ericca Mickens was caught moving trash cans, carrying vehicle tires, driving a vehicle, grocery shopping, and handling a large suitcase.
Errica Mickens and Brittany Mickens also recently flew to France, Belize, and Italy, posting pictures on their Facebook profiles of riding around Italy and touring Belize. Errica Mickens also posted a photo of her and her daughter on a rollercoaster at Disneyland Paris despite claiming to be bedridden.
The pair also posted photos of their recent trips to France, Belize, and Italy on Facebook. During their vacations they were riding around in Italy and touring Belize. In addition, there were photos posted of the “bedridden” Errica Mickens at Disneyland on a rollercoaster with her daughter.
“The County’s In Home Supportive Services program provides the ability for relatives to provide compassionate care to loved ones in need,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The brazen way this program was exploited by these two individuals to steal taxpayer dollars is beyond disturbing. If you’re going to cheat the system, we will find out and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
It was also learned that the house that Errica Mickens was receiving a section 8 housing voucher to live in. The pair never disclosed this while applying for assistance. Applicants are not eligible to receive housing vouchers while living in a home owned by a relative, the district attorney’s office said. The bank accounts owned by Errica and Brittany Mickens held more than $600,000 and the two recently purchased a 2019 Land Rover.
The District Attorney’s Public Assistance Division launched an investigation into Errica Mickens and Brittany Mickens after being notified of discrepancies by the Orange County Housing Authority. The Orange County Housing Authority administers federal funding allocated to the County to provide monthly rental assistance to more than 12,000 very low-income households.
They are currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $190,000 bail each.
Errica Mickens and Brittany Mickens are each facing one felony count of grand theft public housing fraud, one felony count of grand theft of housing funds, one felony count of medical insurance fraud of IHSS, and one felony count of grand theft of IHSS funds. They are also facing four enhancements of aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and under $500,000.
They face a maximum of eight years in state prison if convicted on all charges.
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