A San Francisco woman who was arrested for trying to claim victim’s benefits in the aftermath of San Bruno’s deadly pipeline explosion has been sentenced to nine months in San Mateo County Jail. Exactly one year after the Sept. 9 explosion in the Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood that killed 8 people and destroyed 38 homes, 27-year-old Niesha Taylor pleaded no contest to charges she visited a temporary disaster center five days after the explosion and fraudulently applied for “needed services,” including a new DMV identification, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Taylor, along with Oakland resident Deonte Bennett, 26, allegedly said that their belongings had burned in the fire and gave false addresses within the burn area to Department of Motor Vehicles workers, Wagstaffe said. When DMV staff suspected fraud and notified police, the pair allegedly lied to investigators, saying their property was in a house they rented but could not say who the owner was, according to the district attorney’s office.
The two were arrested Sept. 14, 2010, and charged with commercial burglary, identity theft and filing false documents. On Wednesday, Judge Lisa Novak sentenced Taylor to a nine-month jail sentence and three years on supervised probation. Taylor must surrender herself to custody on Feb. 4, 2012. Bennett is out of custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 1.
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