Judge sets trial date in welfare fraud case

Friday, August 20, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A trial date has been set for a Greencastle man accused of filing for and receiving unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled.

Christopher J. Mullins, 26, faces two Class C felony counts of welfare fraud and one count of Class D felony theft. If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Mullins' trial date has been set for Oct. 13. A plea deal could still be struck in the case -- the deadline for filing one is Sept. 30, the date set for Mullins' final pretrial conference.

Mullins surrendered himself to authorities in mid-June. A warrant for his arrest was issued June 7 at the culmination of a three-months-long investigation by Indiana State Police First Sgt. Scott Stockton and Indiana Department of Workforce Development investigator Dennis Patton.

On June 14, Mullins entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

Including the benefits he received and all applicable penalties, the amount Mullins owes Indiana taxpayers is estimated at more than $7,000, court records said.

At the time of his arrest in June, Mullins was already on probation for convictions on similar charges.

In March, Mullins pled guilty to charges of Class D felony theft and welfare fraud in connection to a May 2008 incident in which he applied for and got unemployment benefits in the name of a former roommate.

Judge Matthew Headley sentenced Mullins to three years on each count to run concurrently, with 243 days executed and the remainder suspended with credit for 42 days spent in jail and 159 days spent on home detention.

Mullins' probation was revoked in that cause when the new charges were filed. Because he was on probation, Headley ordered Mullins held without bond.

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