Lake Station woman faces more charges of benefits fraud
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com August 16, 2012 3:20PM
Updated: September 18, 2012 6:19AM
A Lake Station woman who withdrew a guilty plea in June to two charges of lying to the federal government to receive benefits now faces 15 similar charges.
According to a superseding indictment unsealed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, Chopper Loughran lied numerous times about her employment status to receive worker’s compensation and food stamps.
Loughran was first charged last summer with lying about bills she submitted starting in 2008 for worker’s compensation while she worked with the U.S. Post Office in Gary. The indictment said she submitted numerous claims for mileage and child care reimbursements for doctor’s appointments she supposedly had to take because of an injury she sustained while working. She submitted these claims until 2010.
However, Loughran never went to those medical appointments, according to the indictment.
She also lied to the federal government when she said she had no other income; she actually had an eBay business, Chopper’s Treasurers, that sold hundreds of adult toys.
Loughran had pleaded guilty in the case but then requested to withdraw her plea. A federal judge granted the request in June.
The superseding indictment now claims that Loughran’s crimes didn’t stop with worker’s compensation, however. She also lied about her work history to receive food stamps, claiming when she applied in 2008 that she did not have a job and that she did not have any income prior to August 2009, when she began receiving disability checks.
The indictment says that Loughran took more than $5,000 worth of food stamp benefits illegally.
She faces 11 counts of wire fraud and one count each of federal program fraud and false statements in connection with the food stamps. The other two charges are in connection with the worker’s compensation.