A Westminster mother and daughter who allegedly hid their true identities and familial relationship to bilk Orange County housing and in-home care programs out of thousands of dollars were behind bars Friday.
Prosecutors called the scheme allegedly run by Errica Madkins Mickens, 55, and Brittany Monet Mickens, 29, the largest housing-fraud operation in the county's history.
Both were arrested Thursday and are being held in lieu of $190,000 bail.
Top news of the day
According to prosecutors, the pair used multiple birth certificates and identification cards to become eligible for Orange County Housing Authority and In-Home Supportive Services program funding. Errica Mickens was allegedly receiving maximum public benefits normally reserved for "the most severely disabled clients who required 285 hours of assistance per month," prosecutors said.
But under surveillance, she was seen moving trash cans, carrying tires, driving a vehicle, shopping and handling large suitcases without assistance, prosecutors said. Her daughter, Brittany, was serving as her in- home care provider under the false pretense that Errica Mickens could not speak or walk, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Despite the claims of disability, the pair recently vacationed in France, Belize and Italy, posting various photos of themselves on Facebook, including one showing them on a roller coaster at Disneyland Paris, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors contend the pair bilked the public-assistance programs out of more than $190,000. They noted that the pair hid their relationship, and Brittany Mickens actually owns the house for which her mother was receiving Section 8 housing vouchers.
They were both charged with one felony count each of grand theft public housing fraud, grand theft of housing funds, medical insurance fraud of IHSS and grand theft of IHSS funds.
They face up to eight years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.