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Minnesota couple living luxurious lifestyle charged with welfare fraud

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Charges were filed against a Deephaven couple Friday accused of taking thousands of dollars in welfare benefits from Minnesota and state of Florida despite living a luxurious lifestyle, the Business Journal reports.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County, Colin Chisholm III, 62, and Andrea Chisholm, 54, were charged with taking more than $167,000 in welfare benefits, despite having $3.2 million in the bank and living in a luxurious lakefront home in Deephaven. The charges also say the couple also purchased 83-foot yacht for $1.2 million and owned a seaside home in Florida.

The Chisholms are accused of illegally obtaining public health care assistance in Minnesota, while at the same time receiving food stamps, cash and medical assistance from Florida welfare programs from 2005-2012, the complaint says.

The Star Tribune says the Chisholms fell under the suspicion of Medica Insurance investigators in early 2012, following claims that the couple was fraudulently receiving medical assistance.

The Business Journal says Colin Chisholm is listed as CEO and founder of Miami-based TCN Inc., a company with media and entertainment holdings. In addition, the couple reportedly bred and sold championship pedigree Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies through their business Strathglass Kennel. They are also listed as members of the Lake Minnetonka Kennel Club, the publication says.

According to court documents, sheriff's deputies have been searching for the Chisholms for the past month and the couple is believed to have fled the U.S. The Business Journal says investigators determined that the couple cashed out a $120,000 check in $100 bills in September.

At a news conference Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said, "These were rich folks ripping off the system. I will make sure they do hard time."

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