Woman faces felony counts

FAIRMONT — A St. Paul woman is facing felony charges in Martin County.

Diamond Kyra-Symone Syas, 20, has been charged with wrongfully obtaining public assistance, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

She also has been charged with perjury under oath, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

According to the complaint:

On Aug. 24, a Faribault/Martin County fraud investigator received a referral from Martin County Human Services regarding Syas. The referral stated Syas had reported to Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties that she did not know who the father of her child is, but that it was someone she had hooked up with in Nebraska. Information online indicated Syas is in a relationship with a person who lives in Fairmont but is from Nebraska.

The referral requested that the investigator determine if the man was living in the home with Syas, how long he had been there, and if he is the father of Syas’ child.

In her application for public assistance, Syas had not listed any other household members on her applications, household reports or renewals for benefits, other than herself or her child.

On Aug. 30, the investigator spoke to a manager at Syas’ apartment building. The manager reported that Syas had come into the office to request the man be taken off her lease. Syas was informed that he could not be removed unless he signed a request and provided his new address. Syas said he lives in Nebraska, to which the manager advised they knew the man lives with her, as they always see him there.

On Aug. 31, the investigator interviewed Syas and asked if the man was living with her. She said he was in and out. The investigator said she knew he was on the lease and was living with her based on witness accounts.

Syas was asked why she did not report the man on her public assistance forms and she said, “I honestly don’t know.” When asked if he was the father of her child, Syas said she would talk to Human Services and get that cleared up.

Syas met with the agency’s income maintenance worker and advised she and the man had signed the lease together on the apartment when they originally moved in. Syas also signed up for a DNA test to determine paternity, which later indicated the man was the father.

On Nov. 20, the investigator received notification from the agency that Syas reported the man was no longer living with her and she is currently homeless, stating she and the child were living in her vehicle.

On Nov. 27, the investigator received information that the man reported to the Workforce Center that he and Syas were being evicted from their apartment and needed to be out by Nov. 30. Syas and the man attended a meeting together at the WorkForce Center.

On Dec. 3, Syas called the agency and said she had moved to St. Paul and was now homeless.

Syas received $6,650 in food, housing and cash benefits from February 2018 through October 2018, when the man was added to the welfare grant effective Nov. 1, 2018. Had Syas reported the man living in her household from Nov. 1, 2017, and as a possible father, her benefits would have been adjusted and the man would have been required to submit pay stubs from his employment or participate in specific job search activities in order to qualify for benefits.