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Wealthy Minnesota couple accused of welfare fraud arrested in Florida

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Florida officials said Tuesday that a wealthy Deephaven couple charged last month with welfare fraud has been arrested and jailed in Florida, the KARE 11 reports.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County last month, 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 Business Journal said.

The charges also say the couple also purchased 83-foot yacht for $1.2 million and owned a seaside home in Florida.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office says the Chisholms were deported from the Bahamas Monday and arrested Monday night in Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, Florida.

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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, a criminal complaint says.

The couple is being held without bail. The Star Tribune says the Chisholms are expected to make an appearance in extradition court Wednesday, and at that time they will have an opportunity to say whether they will willingly return to Minnesota or fight extradition.

Court documents said sheriff’s deputies had been searching for the Chisholms for the past month and the couple was believed to have fled the U.S. The investigation involved FBI agents in both Minnesota and Florida.

According to KARE 11, the couple was visited by police in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Monday and was told their visas had expired. From there, the station said, officials escorted the couple, their son and their dog onto a ship bound for the Fort Lauderdale area.

After the ship landed in Port Everglades, the Chishoms were arrested and taken to the Broward County Jail, while their son and dog were reportedly turned over to family members.

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.

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