Attorney General Laxalt Announces Guilty Plea of Reno Woman for Felony Welfare Fraud

October 18, 2017

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that Nichole Marie Ferrel, 35, of Reno, pleaded guilty to welfare fraud, a category “E” felony, for obtaining welfare benefits for which she was not eligible. The fraudulent acts were committed between March 2014 and December 2016.

    Ferrel submitted applications for food stamps to the Nevada Division of Welfare seeking benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Ferrel knowingly and deliberately omitted the fact that she was residing with the father of two of her three children, and that he was receiving income pursuant to his full-time employment. Moreover, she failed to note that she was also receiving income from her own employment. As a result of these fraudulent applications and misrepresentations, Ferrel was issued overpayments of SNAP benefits in an amount over $20,000 for which she was not eligible.

      “Defrauding public assistance programs diverts money from others truly in need of assistance,” said Laxalt. “This prosecution should send a clear message of deterrence to fraudsters engaged in all types of welfare fraud.”

        Welfare fraud is punishable by up to four years of imprisonment and a fine of not more than $5,000. The sentencing hearing is set for January 10, 2018 in the Second Judicial District Court.

          This case was investigated and prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Ronda Clifton of the Attorney General’s Financial Fraud Unit. To view the criminal information for Nichole Marie Ferrel, click here. If you believe you have been victim of financial fraud, you may file a complaint with our office here.