Grand jury: Woman indicted with food stamp fraud

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By Robin Bass

A Taylorsville woman is facing a felony charge after allegedly lying about her monthly income so she could collect more than $6,300 in food stamps.

The Spencer County Grand Jury indicted Mary Blankenship, of 519 Kelly Drive, on one count of making false statements/misrepresentation in order to receive public assistance benefits. According to court documents, Blankenship attempted to defraud the Cabinet for Health and Family Services when she failed to disclose her correct household size and income level.

A family case worker filed a complaint against Blankenship in December 2006 after allegedly discovering she was receiving, but not reporting, child support payments for two of her three children. The indictment stated that the offense occurred for nearly two years between September 2004 and July 2006. Additionally, court records indicated that the father, Wesley Blankenship, had been living at the Kelly Drive home during the same time.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services documents found in the case file -- and signed by Blankenship -- state penalties for falsifying information. First-time offenders could be denied food stamps for one year if found guilty. Second time around, the penalty would jump to two years. If after that, someone is caught lying a third time, they would permanently lose their ability to receive food stamp assistance. At any stage, defendants can be additionally charged up to $250,000, serve up to 20 years in prison and have up to 18 months added to the original suspension of services.

Blankenship was served an arrest warrant earlier this month by the Sheriff’s department and posted a $500 bond.

In another grand jury indictment filed earlier this month, Gerald Weddle received one count for burglary.

Weddle, of 124 West Oak Street in Louisville, was indicted with the class B felony for an offense that occurred around July 30, 2007. Court documents state that Weddle unlawfully entered a building on Wildwood Court with the intent to commit a crime. The indictment also stated that he allegedly was armed with explosives or a deadly weapon at the time of the incident.