Welfare cheater glad to get probation

A Parkersburg man who created a fake Ohio address and received thousands of dollars in Ohio public assistance was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to three years of community control and ordered to pay back the stolen benefits.

David Floyd, 43, pleaded guilty Nov. 25 to a fourth-degree felony count of theft.

In May 2012, Floyd and his then-wife, Debora D. Henry, 40, had given a Belpre address and signed up for benefits through the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

“It was medical insurance for the entire family,” said Erb.

Floyd, Henry and three children were listed on the application for benefits, said Erb. They also received some assistance through food stamps.

The benefits scam lasted until February when a public assistance benefits investigator went looking for Floyd and Henry at 907 Hocking Road-the Belpre residence they had listed as an address.

“Nobody in the apartment had heard of him,” Erb said.

In actuality, the family was living in West Virginia, collecting benefits there as well.

All told, Floyd and Henry collected $17,217.57 in benefits to which they were not entitled.

Having those benefits paid back is the court’s main priority, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.

Floyd was ready to make an initial payment Thursday, said his attorney George Cosenza.

“I have $3,500 in my trust right now. I just need to know who to make the check out to,” said Cosenza.

Floyd said he was sorry for stealing the benefits.

“I’m thankful to just get probation,” he said.

In addition to the three years of community control, Burnworth sentenced Floyd to 60 days in jail, 21 of which he had served after his initial arrest.

However, Burnworth suspended the remaining jail time so long as Floyd continues to make restitution payments.

“You can’t pay any restitution if you’re sitting in jail,” he said.

Henry, if found guilty, will be jointly liable for the restitution payments, said Burnworth.

Henry has not yet pleaded. Her case is still pending, said Erb.

She faces the same fourth-degree felony count of theft. The charge carries a maximum 18-month prison sentence.