Living in a big house on the shores of Lake Washington is expensive. But it helps if one has a steady income of ill-gotten government cheese.
Federal agents recently raided the Dunlap Neighborhood mansion of Lyudmila Shimonova and her partner David Silverstein looking for evidence in what they allege is a longtime scheme to defraud government-assistance programs like Welfare.
All told, authorities claim the couple received $135,000 in federal housing assistance benefits, as well as additional support through a federal program for destitute disabled Americans and state programs meant to feed families.
"All of these programs are need-based programs, meaning that a person can qualify for the programs only if he or she demonstrates that his or her income or resources fall below a certain level," a Department of Housing and Urban Development special agent told the court. "The investigation has developed substantial evidence that the subjects defrauded theses programs by misrepresenting and concealing material information."
Central to the investigators' accusations seems to be the fact that the couple lived a lavish lifestyle while still raking in benefits meant for poor and disabled people. Certainly, the lakeside digs speaks to this fact.
Also noted are numerous trips taken by the couple to places like Paris, the Dominican Republic and Moscow, as well as an undeclared Jaguar that Shimonova was supposedly driving around.
Silverstein is the owner of Seward Park Chiropractic Center, where he notes that he is "happily married with two children"--a fact that would come as news to Shimonova's tax filings where she apparently never listed herself as married, a decision that helped her qualify for generous subsidies.
At this point the two aren't being charged with crimes. The federal suit filed is only looking to recoup the bilked money.