ONTARIO >> An Ontario woman wanted for not paying restitution on a 1998 welfare fraud conviction came out of hiding when she tried to have her record vacated.
Raquel Serrano was convicted of defrauding welfare by using a false Social Security number to collect approximately $40,000 in benefits while at the same time working under her own Social Security number, according to prosecutors. Serrano, now 55, along with her now-deceased husband Juan, received a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay the money back to the county as part of the terms of probation.
However, the couple stopped sending in money after paying approximately $9,000, and a judge issued a no-bail bench warrant for their arrest.
They were able to evade capture for nearly a decade, until she attempted to have her case vacated by the courts, according to a news release from District Attorney Mike Ramos' office.
In 2016, she filed a motion with the San Bernardino County Superior Court, claiming she had completed her terms of probation and had repaid all of the restitution.
DA investigators learned that Juan Serrano died in 2012, and Raquel Serrano still lived and worked in Ontario, where she had recently purchased a $313,000 home.
“To avoid arrest, Raquel Serrano allegedly used multiple forms of identification for fear that an arrest warrant would be issued in the 1998 case,” investigator Steve Rivera said in a written statement.
Serrano is being held at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center on a no-bail warrant, according to the District Attorney's Office statement.
She is scheduled to appear Jan. 23, at the San Bernardino Justice Center.
San Bernardino County prosecutors filed 204 welfare fraud cases in 2016, totaling $1,571,065.25 in possible recoverable funds.
By Doug Saunders, San Bernardino Sun / POSTED: 01/04/17, 3:12 PM PST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO