Wealthy chiropractor, wife accused of welfare fraud

Dec 6 2011 - 4:33pm

SEATTLE -- A Seattle area chiropractor and the woman believed to be his wife have been sued by the federal government for allegedly collecting welfare benefits and food stamps while living in a $1.2 million lakefront home in South Seattle.

The lawsuit was filed Friday, three days after federal agents executed a criminal search warrant at the home of David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova, who the lawsuit says "are believed to be man and wife."

Shimonova claims to be disabled and has been the recipient of the benefits.

The suit alleges that Silverstein has been collecting more than $1,000 a month in federal Housing and Urban Development rent subsidies for Shimonova to live in the home near Pritchard Beach on Lake Washington.

HUD, however, said it was not aware that Silverstein was living at the home with Shimonova, and that the couple appear to be married -- conditions that would make him ineligible to receive the payments, and wrong for Shimonova to apply for them.

The lawsuit alleges the couple violated the False Claims Act by lying on applications at least seven times over the years.

The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, alleges that Silverstein received more than $135,000 in housing benefits while living in the home. The lawsuit and search warrant say Silverstein was routinely seen at the home driving a black Jaguar.

Federal agents from the HUD Office of Inspector General executed a search warrant at the lakefront home on Nov. 29. The warrant said agents are investigating the couple for mail fraud, Social Security fraud and theft of government funds. No criminal charges have been filed.

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