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Duluth couple charged with welfare fraud

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A Duluth couple is accused of failing to report about $400,000 in income while receiving welfare benefits.

      St. Louis County prosecutors say James and Tari Lee Lauer received about $20,000 in welfare assistance at various times from October 2006 to July 2008, while failing to report an inheritance.

      Prosecutors say that while on welfare, Tari Lauer bought a $67,000 Cadillac Escalade, a Chevy Avalanche SUV and a Nissan Titan for her husband. Authorities say the couple also bought a Ford Mustang convertible.

      The Duluth News Tribune reports the couple are each charged with five counts of welfare fraud. It's not the first time Tari Lauer has tangled with law enforcement. She pleaded guilty to child endangerment in 2008 after admitting to smoking crack cocaine in the presence of her three-year-old twins.

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      Information from: Duluth News Tribune

             (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)