Woman Living a Life of Luxury Sentenced for Stealing $377,000 in Government Benefits
Gloria Valle-Clas in driver’s license photos taken a day apart (Handout)
A Florida woman living a life of luxury in a one-acre manicured lot and driving a Mercedes was sentenced for stealing up to $377,000 in government benefits using 12 aliases.
With a round pool in the backyard, a Mercedes and a boat in the driveway and a greenhouse and an aviary nearby, the Florida house doesn’t look like it was owned by someone who qualified for public assistance.
But it was.
While living the life of luxury on a 1-acre manicured lot, Gloria Valle-Clas collected between $305,000 and $377,000 in food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid benefits. Using two separate Social Security numbers and as many as 12 aliases, she duped government agencies into sending her monthly assistance checks and picking up her medical bills for nearly a decade.
“Conduct like this should incense all Americans,” U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp said Thursday. “To be ripping off our government — every agency by every means possible.”
While her attorney Gregg Lerman suggested a roughly 3 1/2-year sentence, Ryskamp said that wasn’t enough. He tacked on roughly another year.
“I just think this is about as low as it gets,” Ryskamp said in sentencing Valle-Clas to 51 months in prison, the maximum allowed under federal rules. He also ordered her to pay $283,359 in restitution.