Former county resident charged with welfare fraud

A former Snohomish County man told state investigators that he would rely on jury sympathy if he were ever caught taking state welfare he didn’t need.

Now he may have to do just that to avoid punishment for taking more than $30,000 in welfare cash payments, as well as food and medical benefits. The state says he wasn’t entitled to the welfare.

Ray Cephus Levans, 57, of Milton, was charged Thursday with felony welfare fraud and first-degree theft in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Deputy prosecutor Jim Townsend said Levans applied for public assistance benefits in February 2000. He reported that he was self-employed as a real estate agent and had not worked since December 1999.

He also told state Department of Social and Health Services officials that he had a medical condition that prevented him from working.

From March 1, 2000, through Oct. 31, 2001, Levans received cash payments, food assistance and medical benefits from DSHS, Townsend said.

In August 2001, a DSHS employee became suspicious about the number of motor vehicles owned by Levans and started a fraud investigation, Townsend said.

The investigator determined that Levans had been employed as a real estate agent during 2000 and 2001, and had received substantial unreported income from that work, Townsend said.

“The defendant admitted he did not need the DSHS income and said he would rely on jury sympathy if the case was prosecuted,” Townsend said.

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