A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10 for a mother and daughter from Westminster arrested in August 2019 on welfare fraud charges. The hearing will be held at Central Justice Center in Santa Ana at 8:30 a.m.
Errica Madkins Mickens, then 55, and Brittany Monet Mickens, then 29, were arrested on Aug. 1, 2019 by investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s Public Assistance Division.
They are accused of taking funds from the Orange County Housing Authority (Section 8) and the county’s In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for which they were not eligible.
Each was charged with one felony count of grand theft public housing fraud, one felony count of grand theft of housing funds, one felony count of medical insurance fraud of IHSS and one felony count of grand theft of IHSS funds. There are also four enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and under $500,000.
The investigation revealed more than $600,000 in bank accounts held by the mother and daughter as well as a recently-purchased 2019 Land Rover sport utility vehicle
They face up to eight years in state prison if convicted of all charges. Bail was set at $190,000 each.
According to the OCDA, Errica Mickens claimed to be disabled and bedridden, and Brittany her caregiver. But the mother was observed moving trash cans, moving vehicle tires, driving, shopping and handling large suitcases.
They allegedly used multiple birth certificates and identification cards in order to gain eligibility for public programs while hiding their true identities.
They did not disclose their family relationship when applying for public assistance. Investigators discovered that Brittany Mickens was the owner of the house for which her mother was illegally receiving a housing voucher. Applicants may not receive such while they are living in a home owned by a relative.
Additionally, they flew to Europe and posted a photo of them riding a roller coaster in Disneyland Paris, it is alleged.
The Westminster Police Department participated in the investigation.