Rockland woman gets probation in welfare fraud case

Posted: Updated:
NEW CITY -

A Rockland County woman will not go to prison, despite being convicted of welfare fraud.

Spring Valley's Jermika Depas was sentenced to five years' probation in Rockland County Court in New City Tuesday.

Depas was found guilty of stealing more than $4,600 from the Rockland County Department of Social Services.

Officials say the 32-year-old was living rent-free in Nanuet and filed three applications between 2015 and 2016 for welfare benefits with Social Services.  They say the application contained letters from Depas' landlord that falsely confirmed that she was paying rent.

The jury concluded that she forged her landlord's signature and that she was not living at the address she said she was. Depas was convicted on seven counts, including welfare fraud, criminal possession of a forged instrument, and offering a false instrument for filing, all felonies.

Prosecutors recommended one to three years in prison, but Depas pleaded for probation so she could care for her daughter. Depas was also ordered to pay restitution to the Rockland Department of Social Services.

This was Depas' second trial in recent years. She was acquitted last November in a trial that accused her of assisting former trustee Vilair Fonvil in stealing $11,000 from a Ramapo summer camp for kids.

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