Rebecca (Bekah) Halat, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in a Republican primary for state senate in Alaska, is also an alleged welfare thief.
Earlier this month, the Alaska Office of Special Prosecution brought a criminal complaint against both Halat and her husband, Jarek, for allegedly defrauding the state’s welfare office of thousands of dollars in order to obtain food stamps they were not actually qualified to receive.
Local news outlet KTUU reported that both Bekah and Jarek Halat told the state they had only one bank account, which contained relatively meager funds. However, once investigators looked into the couple’s finances, they discovered they had multiple other bank accounts at various other financial institutions that they did not previously disclose. One of those accounts had tens of thousands of dollars, which the couple said was for their child’s college fund and that they didn’t want to touch it.
The fact that Halat ran as a Republican and allegedly committed welfare fraud is noteworthy, given Republicans’ criticism of food stamps as creating incentive for Americans to not work (which is false), and vulnerable to widespread fraud (which is also untrue). Additionally, page 5 of the Alaska Republican Party platform (PDF link) stigmatizes welfare recipients as drug addicts.
“We support that all Alaska welfare recipients be drug tested and be found free of illicit drugs as part of the application approval and be subject to random drug testing while receiving benefits,” the platform states.
Both Bekah and Jarek Halat are charged with second-degree theft and unsworn falsification. The second-degree theft charge is a class C felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Unsworn falsification is a class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of one year in prison and up to $2,000 in fines. Bekah Halat will face a pre-indictment hearing on September 27.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.