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Feds: Couple claimed welfare, lived in $1.2M home

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:28 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2011

SEATTLE>> A Seattle chiropractor and his wife live in a $1.2 million waterfront home and have spent the past eight years flying to Moscow, Paris, Israel, Turkey, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

All the while, federal authorities say, the couple was collecting more than $100,000 in welfare.
Now, the U.S. attorney's office is suing David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova, accusing them of filing false claims and demanding that the couple pay back more than $135,000 in federal housing assistance since 2003. Prosecutors are also seeking tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
In gaining Section 8 housing assistance, Shimonova represented that she lived alone with her two children and that her household assets were less than $5,000. Silverstein received the monthly benefits of $1,272 as Shimonova's purported landlord, the government said.
Shimonova also received benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, as well as Social Security cash reserved for people who can't work due to age or disability and whose assets fall below a certain threshold — $3,000 for a married couple or $2,000 for a single person, the complaint said.
"Defendants have separately and, it appears, in conjunction with one another made false representations to various state and federal agencies in order to obtain federally funded benefits," assistant U.S. attorneys Harold Malkin and Kayla Stahman wrote.
Meanwhile, they were traveling the world, according to Department of Homeland Security records.
Michael Radyshewsky, a federal welfare fraud investigator, wrote in an application to search the couple's home that they took weeklong trips to Moscow in 2003, Dominican Republic in 2005, and Mexico and France in 2009. In 2007, they went for 12 days to Israel, and this past June they took a two-week trip to Turkey.
Silverstein said Tuesday his lawyer asked him not to comment. The home did not appear to have a listed phone number, and no contact information for Shimonova could immediately be found.
The investigation included surveillance of the three-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot home on Lake Washington, during which agents observed his black Jaguar parked there frequently.
Though Shimonova had claimed she was single and lived there alone, Silverstein listed it as his residence on his driver's license and passport application, the prosecutors said.
But in documents filed so that he could receive the housing assistance, he listed his office as his residence to conceal that he was living with Shimonova — not her landlord, they said.
Furthermore, it appeared clear that the pair was actually married. Silverstein wrote on the website of his chiropractic business: "On a personal note, I am happily married with two children, whose careers are in medicine and Middle Eastern studies. As a family, we all enjoy snow-shoeing, mountain climbing and ocean sports."
A report of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle for the 2010 fiscal year listed "Mila and Dr. David Silverstein" as donors.
In addition to failing to disclose the marriage or living situation, Shimonova also failed to disclose bank accounts in her name containing tens of thousands of dollars, prosecutors said.
The lawsuit seeks to have the couple pay $11,000 in fines for each false claim the couple made. The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on whether criminal charges are forthcoming.

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royalridge_2000 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 6,2011 | 10:46AM
Anonymous wrote:
Start? My neighbor is trying to get his place approved for Section 8 so he can have the taxpayers pay his rent while he's busy globetrotting.
on December 7,2011 | 10:04AM
1local wrote:
Abusers of programs should be dealt with severely - Programs are needed for those who really need help.
on December 6,2011 | 11:29AM
Compassionate_Cat wrote:
There should be a way for the public to report potential abuse. As a former landlord I would show up with my tenants when the section 8 inspection occurred every year. I would have known if any of my section 8 people were fooling the system as their landlord since I would verify their incomes, tax compliances and credit reports. Credit reports would have shown up a huge income, bank accounts with money, etc. They should be indicted for criminal behavior and open that home as a rooming house for the homeless and let them cook and clean for those transitioning into worklife and independence.
on December 6,2011 | 01:38PM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
In Hawaii we don't have homes like this. Our welfare people just have hawaiian braclets from up both arms - in othe words "coat of armor". They drive Escalates or Cadilacs with dual exhaust and nice rims and profile tires. They live in low income housing and BF says too. What a life. Us middle class people who work everyday and some have two jobs - maybe (2) hawaiian brackets that is 4 mm in size and we drive second hand cars because we pay for lunches at school for our kids and pay for bus service. In my next life I guess that I'm not going to work but take advantage of our system. You figure I have paid enought taxes for my entire life so I can live off of the people and maybe see how if feels to have hawaiian jewely and drive a escalate with big tires and dual exhaust. Maybe I'll do my nails every week and also my hair. What a way to go.
on December 6,2011 | 11:48AM
patk wrote:
I agree, there is too much time wasted on trying to investigate every detail of these abusers. The burden of proof is unnecessarily placed on the gov't to prove guilt. We need laws to make it really EASY to cancel welfare and other types of support. If there is ANY type of spending on vacations, luxury items, expensive dinners, jewelry, and any other type of stupid bling bling car designer clothes etc then WHAM, gov't aid cancelled. Effective immediately. And some HUGE fines. And for the most egregious types of abusers, like this chiropractor and his wife -- cut one their hands off of each of them. They can chose which one if they like.
on December 6,2011 | 12:31PM
HD36 wrote:
No wonder Jews always vote democrat.
on December 6,2011 | 12:56PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
You should be ashamed of that anti-semitic comment, but I'm sure you knew exactly what you were doing when you posted it. I look forward to the moderator finding it and deleting it.
on December 6,2011 | 06:02PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Take the house if they can't pay it back then send them both to federal prison for 5-10 years.
on December 6,2011 | 04:56PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Welfare scabs running rampant. do away with rental assistance, no one should expect the taxpayers to support them. If you don't work, you don't eat.
on December 6,2011 | 04:59PM
Ronin006 wrote:
This is just the tip of a welfare fraud crisis perpetrated by 99 percenters.
on December 7,2011 | 07:29AM
jusmetwocents wrote:
Make these people the Sacrificial Lambs of welfare fraud. A well publicized trial, public humiliation and harsh punishment should do the trick!
on December 7,2011 | 07:31AM
jcc96826 wrote:
Where can people in Hawaii report Welfare / Housing Fraud. It is not as easy as you may think. It would require State Employees to actually get out of comfort zone and follow up on questionable issues. Most will claim to be overwhelmed and maybe they are but the economy wasn't always this bad but do you remember any State Agency raising a question about questionable benefits being paid? I know of a person who claims custody of children whose other half is involved in a relationship / lives with someone else. The children don't live with either but instead live with grandma. - Ok got all that. Both people collect welfare. One also works cash job the other collects housing subsidy from the state and additional payment from state because of children. This has been going on for years! I tried to report it to the State but no one place to all and report.
on December 7,2011 | 08:07AM
nigelUV001 wrote:
We need to hire more social workers to monitor "legitamate" eligbility. Spend more to save more..
on December 7,2011 | 09:16AM
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