Two accused of illegally buying welfare benefits

WENATCHEE — Two East Wenatchee women are accused of conspiring with a jail inmate to buy the imprisoned man’s welfare benefits to finance a drug purchase.

Juanita M. Potter, 65 and Judy G. “Teri” Briggs, 57, were charged in a Chelan County warrant with first-degree theft by welfare fraud and food stamp trafficking, both felonies. Sheriff’s deputies and Department of Social and Health Service investigators say the two arranged by phone to sell an Electronic Benefits Transfer card belonging to Tevin A. Robbins, 25, of East Wenatchee, then jailed on charges of jumping his bail after an arrest for assault.

Calls to Chelan County Regional Justice Center inmates are routinely recorded. Authorities say Robbins arranged by phone last October for Potter to buy two months of the EBT card’s use for $100, to go toward a heroin purchase for him and his girlfriend. Potter and Briggs then shared use of the card to buy about $260 worth of goods at local stores in subsequent months, according to police reports.

Sales or transfers of EBT cards are illegal. Welfare fraud, the most serious of the two charges, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted.

The two are to be arraigned today. Robbins has not been charged in the case.