Detectives: Man stole thousands in food stamps, Medicaid

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Investigators say he collected thousands in food stamps and medicaid even though he was employed and owned several properties

A Houston area realtor is charged with theft after allegedly receiving benefits which investigators believe he was not entitled to receive.

Validimir Restrepo, 39, was arrested several weeks ago but appeared in court for the first time this morning. The Harris County District Attorney's Office says Restrepo collected $17, 604.68 in Medicaid and "SNAP" food stamps on behalf of his family from November of 2011 through April of 2013. In applying for the aid, prosecutors say Restrepo claimed he was unemployed. Investigators say, however, that he worked at a jewelry store at the time.

After appearing in court today, Restrepo refused to talk to us about the allegations. He did tell Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Quinn that he did nothing wrong.

Restrepo's online "bio" describes him as a "top producer" and "powerhouse negotiator" who has closed real estate deals in some of Houston's most exclusive neighborhoods. His publicly accessible facebook page shows pictures of an upscale SUV with specialized license plates and various poses of him with his family in tropical locations.

According to public records from the Harris County Central Appraisal District he owns two homes appraised at nearly $400,000 each. He's also previously been convicted of theft and driving while intoxicated.

Again, Restrepo refused to respond to any questions about the theft charge against him. If convicted, he could be sent to jail for up to two years.

Related Topics:
welfarefraudHouston
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