VALPARAISO | A welfare fraud case against a Chesterton woman was dismissed Wednesday at the request of the Porter County prosecutor's office.
Jennifer Shannon, 38, the former owner of a troubled bar in Hammond, argued she could not be tried for felony welfare fraud in Porter County because charges based on the same accusations were dismissed in May in Lake County. She also cited Constitutional protection against double jeopardy, which says no person shall be tried twice for the same offense.
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning charges cannot be filed against Shannon again in the case.
A hearing on the request for dismissal had been scheduled for Thursday in Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper's courtroom.
The accusations were the same with each case and involved identical evidence, according to the motion to dismiss.
An investigator with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said that between December 2008 and October 2009, Shannon defrauded the state of more than $13,800 in the form of food stamps and Medicaid benefits she and her five children received.
Investigators allege that during that time, Shannon intentionally withheld and concealed information regarding her ownership in Sammy's Big Bang, a fireworks outlet, and Jen's Apartment, a bar, both in Hammond. Investigators alleged that while she claimed to have no income, she actually made $4,700 a month, pushing her beyond eligibility for state assistance.