A Harrisonburg woman accused of fraudulently receiving thousands of dollars in welfare benefits pleaded guilty Monday in Rockingham County Circuit Court.
Mariah Ann-Marie Denham, 29, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of welfare fraud and one felony count of filing a false application with the Virginia Department of Social Services and three felony counts of welfare fraud.
As part of a plea deal, Judge Bruce Albertson sentenced Denham to an eight-year suspended sentence.
He ordered that she pay $6,830 in restitution.
Denham was arrested Oct. 24.
Prosecutors say Denham failed to report that her boyfriend lived with her from 2017 through 2020, during which time she filed for welfare.
The boyfriend’s wages, prosecutors say, would have made her ineligible to receive benefits.
As a result of the fraud, prosecutors say, Denham received roughly $6,900 from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes SNAP funds available to states to help households meeting certain income criteria purchase food.
As part of the taxpayer-funded program, the state deposits money into a recipient’s SNAP account, which can be used at participating stores with a state-issued debit card. The card can be used to purchase unprepared food and nonalcoholic beverages.