A Republican candidate for the Alaskan State Senate was scheduled to appear before a judge Friday after being charged with food stamp fraud. The 33-year-old candidate, Bekah Halat, has been charged with second degree theft and unsworn falsification. She reportedly collected thousands of dollars in government assistance which she was not entitled to. She was not in custody nor did Halat actually make the appearance.
KTUU reports Halat’s attorney, Mike Moberly, attended the hearing on her behalf, and the state had no objection to Halat not being physically present in the courtroom.
“The state agreed to wait for an appearance,” the district attorney told the judge. “My understanding is she’s available by phone. I don’t think it’s necessary because she has experienced defense counsel.”
Court documents state that Halat and her husband, Jarek, collected more than $10,000 in food stamps for which they should never have been eligible. The government assistance benefits began in March of last year and through August 2018.
Halat’s scheme unraveled on June 20 when the Dept. of Public Assistance received a tip that the republican senate candidate was committing welfare fraud. KTVA reports an “anonymous person reportedly became concerned when Bekah solicited political support while canvassing the neighborhood.”
Halat touts herself as a successful business owner and consultant to businesses on her campaign page. That can’t be the case if someone is on government assistance. Investigators dug further into her records and discovered she owned the company Super Beans. Super Beans is listed as a mobile coffee shop with Halat the sole proprietor with an active business license. The address listed for the business however led to an empty lot.
Investigators than began digging into her finances. In particular, the bank account for the campaign donations led investigators to other accounts not previously reported by Halat and her husband. There were four other personal accounts that the couple had not disclosed. One of those accounts Jarek had deposited monthly payments from his gig with Uber and Lyft. The largest account had more than $30,000 which the couple explained was for their daughter’s college savings. When asked by investigators if they could walk into the bank and withdraw the funds at any time, the couple replied, “yes.”
Ensnared in their own web of deceit and lies, the couple eventually admitted to lying on their food stamp application. They both now face felony charges. At the time, Halat maintained her campaign would continue but just like Melissa Howard, the scandal proved more than the campaign could handle. On Tuesday Halat lost her Republican primary bid for a South Anchorage Senate seat to Chris Birch.
Alaska GOP Chairman Tuckerman Babcock called the charges shocking in a statement Monday but said that the party is disappointed by the state’s timing, which he says seems political, adding that the Republican Party can only hope that the Halats have a good explanation for the situation.
Damn Trumpsters. Everyone can’t get away with what Donald Trump gets away with.