MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman who once claimed to be Scottish royalty has now pleaded guilty to welfare fraud.
Andrea Chisholm and her husband, Colin, are accused of collecting more than $165,000 in welfare payments while living in a lake-front mansion.
Andrea Chisholm pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting, and wrongfully obtaining public assistance.
She claims it was her husband, Colin, who handled all of their financial dealings.
The Chisholms were living the good life, staying in lavish estates and million-dollar house boats, all while collecting public assistance from Minnesota.
Prosecutors claim they collected the welfare payments between January 2005 and May 2012.
Tuesday, Andrea Chisholm admitted to her crimes. She claims she signed applications for welfare and admitted the information on those applications was inaccurate. She also told the judge those applications were filled out by her husband.
The Chisholms’ plea agreement with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will send her to prison for one year and one day. She will get credit for 142 days already served.
If she has no disciplinary problems in prison, she will spend the last four months of her sentence on supervised release.
Chisholm says she will fight the amount of restitution the court wants. She will have a hearing later that will determine how much of the $165,000 she will have to pay back to the state.
As part of her plea agreement, the court threw out one count of theft by swindle.
Chisholm says her husband told her that because neither of them were getting a paycheck, they were entitled to receive welfare benefits.
Prosecutors did point out that at one point, the Chisholms were receiving welfare from Minnesota and Florida at the same time.
According to the county attorney’s office, Colin Chisholm III will go to trial. He has a pre-trial hearing set for Sept. 10.
It’s not clear if Andrea Chisholm will be called to testify against her husband.
She will spend four more months behind bars before she can be reunited with her 7-year-old son.