JOHNSTOWN - A Washington County couple's trial slated for earlier this week in Fulton County Court was averted when both defendants entered guilty pleas.
Deborah M. Lux, 37, and Bryan M. Lux, 44, both of 129 Pulp Mill Rd., Greenwich, were slated to go to trial starting Monday before Judge Polly A. Hoye.
The defendants were accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $44,000 in welfare benefits through Fulton County.
According to a news release issued Tuesday by Fulton County Assistant District Attorney James P. Riley, Deborah M. Lux on Monday pleaded guilty before Hoye to one felony count of third-degree grand larceny, as part of a plea arrangement. She admitted to stealing more than $3,000 of benefits consisting of Medicaid benefits, HEAP and food stamp benefits from Fulton County DSS, which she was not entitled.
Bryan Lux on Monday also plead guilty before Hoye to one misdemeanor count of petit larceny, as part of a plea arrangement. He admitted to stealing Medicaid benefits, HEAP and food stamp benefits from DSS, which he was not entitled.
The Luxes were arrested Sept. 28, 2012, after an investigations into welfare fraud by the Fulton County Department of Social Services Investigative Unit and the Fulton County Sheriff's Department.
The couple was previously indicted by a Fulton County grand jury on July 19, charged with 12 counts.
Authorities said the couple failed to report income on their applications for temporary assistance, Medicaid and food stamps. Investigators said the Luxes through welfare fraud received $13,465 in food stamp benefits, $29,586 in Medicaid benefits and $1,335 in Home Energy Assistance Program benefits from March 2009 to April 2012.
Deborah Lux will be sentenced at a later date to six months in jail and five years probation and be required to make restitution to DSS in the amount of $30,000 -jointly with her husband - of which $10,000 will be paid at the time of sentencing.
Bryan Lux will be sentenced at a later date to 60 days in jail and three years probation and be required to make restitution to DSS in the amount of $30,000 jointly with his wife.
"Public assistance is available and intended for those who truly need the help, not for the Luxes who clearly had amassed adequate financial resources and attempted to dupe the system," Riley stated in the release. "I am satisfied that the plea and sentence, including a felony conviction for Mrs. Lux, jail time for both, and probation, as well as a payment plan to reimburse the county will serve as a strong deterrent for the Luxes and for other individuals who may attempt this crime."