Posted: March 08, 2019


On October 30, 2018, Michael Bassett applied for CalFresh benefits, which provides food stamps, as well as CalWORKS, which provides cash aid to qualifying individuals. Initially, Mr. Bassett stated that he was the only member of his household and was told that he would not qualify for cash aid because he did not have a dependent child in his household.

Two weeks later, Mr. Bassett returned to the Department of Health and Human Services. This time he claimed, under penalty of perjury, that he had temporary custody of his son and re-applied for CalWORKS benefits.

Suspicious of Mr. Bassett's claims, the staff at DHHS referred the matter to the District Attorney's Office Investigator, Ryan Andelin. Mr. Andelin was able to verify that Mr. Bassett's son resided in a different state and had for some time and that Mr. Bassett was lying in order to obtain cash aid he knew he was ineligible for.

Because Mr. Bassett was on parole for a prior strike offense in 2015, his unlawful conduct was also in violation of his parole.

Mr. Bassett was convicted of PC 118 - Perjury by Declaration, a felony, and WI 10980(a) - Intent to Deceive to Receive Aid, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 120 days in the El Dorado County Jail and three years of formal probation. Mr. Bassett also admitted to being in violation of his parole and was sentenced to an additional 90 days to run concurrently with the primary sentence.

The case was Investigated by District Attorney's Office Investigator, Ryan Andelin, and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Erin Tognetti, both part of the Office's Welfare Fraud Unit.