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Sac Woman Scams Charity Out of $121K With Fake Hard-Luck Stories, DA Says

Woman applied nearly 70 times for crisis funding, SF prosecutors said.

A Sacramento woman was arrested and charged today with 68 felonies for allegedly defrauding a San Francisco-based charity that provides funding for low-income families in need of housing and emergency assistance, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Lydia George, 36, was arrested this morning in Sacramento, after she allegedly used her position as a caseworker to submit fraudulent applications for emergency money from the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund.

The charity gave 62 checks worth $121,800 to many people including one to George herself based on her applications, according to the district attorney's office.

The city's Human Service Agency discovered in November 2011 that there was a discrepancy in one of her applications, which prompted a deeper look into the prior year-and-half of her submissions.

The investigation lead to the discovery of 67 fake applications and the 62 checks the organization wrote to disperse the funding, according to officials.

The HSA has repaid the amount stolen by George, ensuring that the checks' recipients are able to use the money for its intended purposes, whether it be to help a family cover a security deposit for an apartment, supplement rent or provide help for other emergency needs.

The fund has been raising money to provide grants for families who need short-term assistance since 1986. The organization works with more than 120 community service agencies in the area, according to the fund's website.

More than $98 million worth of grants have been distributed to Bay Area families during the organization's history.

George was charged with 68 felonies, including fraud, grand theft and forgery, according to the district attorney's office.

-- Bay City News

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