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  • Edición impresa de Enero 5, 2012

Coin store owner charged with fraud

Despite $242,000 in casino winnings, store owner allegedly received food stamp benefits

SBT- MISHAWAKA

The owner of a store that routinely deals in gold, diamonds and rare coins has allegedly spent the past five years claiming poverty.

Kenneth Gaipa, the owner of Kenneth G. Rare Coins, was charged with felony counts of welfare and Medicaid fraud, allegedly bilking the government out of more than $60,000 in assistance. Those payments allegedly included more than $11,000 in food stamps, $50,000 in Medicaid assistance and $1,700 from the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund. According to a charging affidavit filed Friday, Gaipa's alleged scams date back to 2006, when he claimed his only income was in the form of a Social Security disability payment. He also allegedly claimed that his home was at 127 W. Douglas, a commercial store and the current site of Kenneth G. Rare Coins.

But investigators say that despite Gaipa's claims that his store was initially owned by a woman he married in 2009, that bank records and other documents show Gaipa as the owner and incorporator of a jewelry store, and include evidence that he received enough income from his position to make him ineligible for government assistance. And at the same time Gaipa was receiving food stamps and Medicaid assistance, investigators claim, he was also apparently visiting casinos. According to the affidavit, from March 1, 2006 until Dec. 31, 2009, Gaipa claimed winning $242,000 at area casinos on his income taxes income he never reported to the Division of Family Services.

For the alleged fraud, prosecutors have charged Gaipa with a Class C and a Class D felony. And on the same day Gaipa was charged with welfare fraud, he was also charged with receiving stolen property. According to the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office, Gaipa is also accused of buying a platinum engagement ring worth more than $14,500 for $350 from a man he believed was employed as a car washer. St. Joseph County police had been searching for the ring which was stolen from a home in August and learned that a man had tried to sell it at Casper's Coin and Jewelry in Rose-land. By the time police confronted Gaipa about the ring, the ring had already been sent to "be scrapped" and had been melted. In that case, Gaipa has been charged with theft, a Class D felony.

 


 

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