Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family has received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits over the last decade, according to the Boston Herald.
Details of the benefits – which included cash, food stamps and housing assistance – are contained within more than 500 documents that were handed over from Massachusetts welfare officials to a committee of state lawmakers on Monday.
The documents have not been released publicly, but a person who has reviewed them told the Boston Herald that the “breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning”.
The paper also spoke to Massachusetts Rep. David Linsky about the documents, who promised a thorough review of the assistance that the family received.
“I can assure members of the public that this committee will actively review every single piece of information we can find because clearly the public has a substantial right to know what benefits, if any, this family or individuals accused of some horrific crimes were receiving,” said David Linsky, the committee’s chairman.
It has been previously reported that deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife Katherine Russell relied on food stamps and public assistance from 2011 to 2012, soon after they became parents.
Last Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance detailed how the couple received food stamps from September 2011 to November 2012.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, who married in June 2010, are believed to have become parents to their daughter, Zahara, in 2011, in the months before they began receiving the aid.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family has received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits over the last decade
In addition to food stamps, the young family also benefited from TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children), a program for low income parents with dependent children.
TAFDC is paid out twice a month and can be directly deposited into a recipient’s bank account.
The assistance was paid to Katherine Russell, since a person must be a U.S. citizen, or eligible non-citizen, to receive the aid.
While they took the government aid, Katherine Russell would sometimes clock as many as 80 hours a week while her unemployed husband stayed at home.
Ultimately Katherine Russell Tsarnaev’s income made the couple ineligible for welfare and they stopped receiving state money in November 2012.
Welfare officials have been forced to divulge details of the aid that was paid out to the family of the bombing suspects.
Mass. Gov. Patrick Deval told state agencies last week that they should not discuss the details of what government assistance Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had received, citing privacy concerns.
Welfare information is not available for public release unless the person in question provides their consent, but it is available to lawmakers.
Massachusetts State Rep. David Linsky called on the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance to provide him with the information.
David Linksy issued an ultimatum on Thursday to welfare officials, giving them 24 hours to provide the information.
The letter from Rep. David Linsky was provided to the Boston Herald.
“My office is working to fully comply with your request,” DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan wrote in his report to Rep. David Linsky, saying they were only providing a summary “given the great interest in this matter”.
In addition to the aid paid out to Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, both alleged Boston bombers had benefited from welfare since their parents Anzor and Zubeidat Tsarnaev collected foodstamps and TAFDC – from 2002 to 2004 and again in 2009 to 2011.
Since the Tsarnaevs are Chechen immigrants, some wondered why they received aid. But the state agency explained that they were considered eligible for the public assistance.
“The Tsarnaev parents were eligible to receive benefits as legal, non-citizen residents who were granted asylum status and met the basic eligibility criteria for DTA, including household income levels, presence of dependent children and other factors,” the DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan said in a letter addressed to David Linsky, Chairman of the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee.
The Herald had reported that sources who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev said that though he sported a flashy appearance, he failed to earn very much money for his family and was essentially a stay-at-home dad.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been described as more entrepreneurial.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died early on April 19 after a shoot-out with police in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured late on April 19 after an extensive manhunt.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was receiving Massachusetts welfare benefits in the lead up to the deadly attacks at the Boston Marathon.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, lived off state aid while his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, worked as a home healthcare worker, sometimes clocking as many as 80 hours a week while her unemployed husband stayed at home, Massachusetts welfare officials revealed on Wednesday.
Ultimately Katherine Russell’s income made the couple ineligible for welfare and they stopped receiving state money in 2012.
Sources who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev said that though he sported a flashy appearance, he failed to earn very much money for his family and was essentially a stay-at-home dad.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,on the other hand, has been described as more entrepreneurial.
Katherine Russell Tsarnaev worked as a home healthcare worker, sometimes clocking as many as 80 hours a week, while her unemployed husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev stayed at home
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was a sophomore at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, attended the school on a scholarship and earned petty cash selling marijuana, sources told the Boston Globe.
Investigators are scrutinizing the Tsarnaev brothers’ source of income, as they probe whether the pair received outside assistance for their attack, either from a radical group or foreign government.
Security experts have noted though that the modus operandi was relatively cheap, estimating that the materials for each of the pressure cooker bombs used at the Boston Marathon attack could have cost a total of $100 each.
It is not known when Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, the mother of the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, began receiving the aid.
They “were not receiving transitional assistance benefits at the time of the [Boston Marathon blasts]”, Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services spokesman Alec Loftus told the Boston Herald.
Both suspects believed to be behind the bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar, had also received welfare as children.
Their parents, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, relied on state assistance when they moved to America from the Russian republic of Dagestan.
State officials have been reluctant to discuss whether the Tsarnaevs had received state money when they immigrated to the U.S. in the early 2000s.
Ultimately, after pressure from the press the state welfare benefits office divulged the information to the Boston Herald.
David Silverstein, a wealthy chiropractor from Seattle, and his wife were living in a $1.2million waterfront home while claiming almost $2,000-a-month welfare benefits and even food stamps, according to documents.
A civil lawsuit has been filed against David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova, who are accused of making false claims which included more than $1,200 in public housing vouchers, plus state and government disability cheques and even food stamps.
Prosecutors are demanding they pay back more than $135,000 in federal housing assistance since 2003 and are seeking tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
It is thought the couple has spent some of the money they claimed over the last eight years flying to Moscow, Paris, Israel, Turkey, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
David Silverstein, a wealthy chiropractor from Seattle, and his wife were living in a $1.2million waterfront home while claiming almost $2,000-a-month welfare benefits and even food stamps, according to documents
All the while, federal authorities say, David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova was collecting more than $100,000 in welfare.
Lyudmila Shimonova also received benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, as well as Social Security cash reserved for people who can’t work due to age or disability and whose assets fall below a certain threshold – $3,000 for a married couple or $2,000 for a single person, the complaint said.
“Defendants have separately and, it appears, in conjunction with one another made false representations to various state and federal agencies in order to obtain federally funded benefits,” assistant U.S. attorneys Harold Malkin and Kayla Stahman wrote.
Meanwhile, David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova were traveling the world, according to Department of Homeland Security records.
Michael Radyshewsky, a federal welfare fraud investigator, wrote in an application to search the couple’s home that they took week-long trips to Moscow in 2003, Dominican Republic in 2005, and Mexico and France in 2009.
In 2007, David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova went for 12 days to Israel, and this past June they took a two-week trip to Turkey.
The investigation included surveillance of the three-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot home on Lake Washington, during which agents observed his black Jaguar parked there frequently.
Though Lyudmila Shimonova had claimed she was single and lived there alone, David Silverstein listed it as his residence on his driver’s license and passport application, the prosecutors said.
But in documents filed so that he could receive the housing assistance, David Silverstein listed his office as his residence to conceal that he was living with Lyudmila Shimonova – not her landlord, they said.
In addition to failing to disclose the marriage or living situation, Lyudmila Shimonova also failed to disclose bank accounts in her name containing tens of thousands of dollars, prosecutors said.
The lawsuit seeks to have the couple pay $11,000 in fines for each false claim the couple made. The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on whether criminal charges are forthcoming.
According to Yahoo, the couple’s home includes gardens and a boat dock and that they accurately listed the address of the $1.2million property when applying for the benefits.
A federal official told the station that the couple likely took advantage of a loophole, which allows low-income individuals to receive financial assistance to help them pay their rent and move away from housing projects.
David Silverstein received the monthly benefits of $1,272 as Lyudmila Shimonova’s purported landlord, despite the fact he drives a Jaguar and has a successful chiropractor.
The government says that in gaining Section 8 housing assistance, Lyudmila Shimonova represented that she lived alone with her two children and that her household assets were less than $5,000.
On his website, David Silverstein states: “I am happily married with two children, whose careers are in medicine and Middle Eastern studies.
“As a family, we all enjoy snow shoeing, mountain climbing and ocean sports.”