“Welfare mom” withdraws plea deal

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ALBANY, N.Y. – The woman known as the “Wealthy Welfare Mom” is back in Albany County Court for sentencing Friday morning, but has another surprise for the court.

In a story News10 brought you first and has been following since the beginning, 37-year-old Angela Lopez, from Colonie, was found in December 2010 to have ripped off the Department of Social Services of nearly $100,000 when she received welfare while she allegedly brought in a paycheck and disability benefits. Over a period of five years, Lopez received disability, food stamps, and Medicaid assistance for herself, her husband, and their five children. At the same time she worked as a nurse's aide, never reporting that income.

Lopez initially denied the allegations, saying she thought since her husband wasn't working that she fell below the income level.

Back in May, Lopez took a plea deal for one felony charge of welfare fraud and one felony charge of grand larceny. As part of her plea deal she would have been sentenced to 2-6 years in state prison and must pay $65,699 in restitution to the Department of Social Services and $29,697.88 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

However, during her scheduled 9:00 a.m. sentencing hearing Lopez shocked the court once again Friday morning, by changing her mind about the plea deal, and she asked the judge to withdraw her guilty plea.

Lopez wrote a letter to the judge explaining her abrupt change, in one point in the letter stating the decision was because she “didn't like her lawyer.”

Lopez's next hearing is scheduled for July 18th, when the judge will decide if the case will go to trial.

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