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Woman sentenced for welfare fraud may be deported

WORTHINGTON -- A woman sentenced for welfare fraud Monday afternoon may be facing deportation, she told Judge Jeffrey Flynn.

Mayra Alejandra Villarreal, 26, of Worthington, was charged in August 2009 with wrongfully obtaining assistance and welfare fraud. She pleaded guilty to the welfare count last month.

She was sentenced per a plea agreement to three years of probation and is supposed to pay restitution of almost $6,000.

"I wasn't expecting you today," Flynn admitted to Villarreal, stating he had a report from probation that said she had not shown up for her April 16 probation appointment.

When Villarreal told the judge she had gone to the probation office last week, he admonished her to pay closer attention to her obligations. Villarreal's attorney, Louis Kuchera, says his client had been dealing with an immigration matter and was in custody for a time after the plea agreement was made.

Villarreal was sentenced to 12 months and one day incarceration, stayed on the condition she serve the three years probation, pay a $500 fine and the $5,988 restitution.

"If you are deported, the probation can be unsupervised," Flynn stated. "If not, it will be supervised. If you are deported but return to the U.S., report to probation within 24 hours."

Villarreal's run-ins with law enforcement date back to 2007, when she was cited for violating an instructional driver's permit. Since then she has also been charged and convicted in several different cases with driving after cancellation, driving while impaired, theft and fifth-degree assault.