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Salinas woman pleads no contest to welfare fraud

Monterey County District Attorney's Office

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni said that 31-year-old Celene Alvarado-Pineda of Salinas has plead no contest to felony welfare fraud.

Pacioni said that between the months of Oct. 2019 and Oct. 2020, Alvarado-Pineda was receiving both CalFresh and CalWorks benefits claiming that she and her partner were unemployed and needed these benefits to support their children.

An investigation by the Department of Social Services and the Monterey County District Attorney's Office revealed that Alvarado-Pineda was employed by the Salinas City Elementary School District during the entire fraud period.

The Salinas City Elementary School District told KION that Alvarado-Pineda was a bus assistant and left the school district in March 2023.

The investigation also revealed that her partner was employed at a private landscaping company during this period as well.

According to Pacioni, Alvarado-Pineda's failure to report her and her partner's employment and income to the Department of Social Services resulted in an overpayment of benefits of $25,993 which they were not entitled to receive.

Alvarado-Pineda will be sentenced on Nov. 17, 2023. She faces two years of formal felony probation and up to a year in jail. She will be ordered to pay back the loss directly to the Department of Social Services.

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Derrick Ow

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