Tsarnaev Family Cashed in on $100,000 in State Benefits

Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013 04:34 PM

By Melanie Batley

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The Tsarnaev family, including the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings and their parents, received state benefits adding up to more than $100,000 over 10 years.

This comes on top of news that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will receive free legal representation by some of the nation’s top defense attorneys in his upcoming trial for the bombings which killed three and injured about 270.

Between 2002 and 2012, the Tsarnaevs received taxpayer-funded assistance which included cash, food stamps, and Section 8 housing assistance, The Boston Herald reported.

The paper said in an earlier report that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife, Katherine, and their 3-year-old daughter were on welfare until 2012 when their income exceeded the eligibility limits. Tsarnaev’s parents also received state welfare benefits when he and his brother, Dzhokhar, were younger, according to the Herald.

“The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” one source told the Herald who had knowledge of documents given to the Massachusetts House Post Audit and Oversight Committee.

The committee met for the first time on Monday and plans to call in officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance to testify.

The chairman of the 11-member committee, Massachusetts State Rep. David Linsky, told the Herald, “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.”

Linsky’s committee received more than 500 documents detailing the state assistance the Tsarnaev family received after it made requests to the DTA, the state’s Medicaid director and Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz.

The Transitional Assistance agency has since announced it plans to conduct its own investigation to include a full history of the benefits received by the entire Tsarnaev family.

Meanwhile, AP reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be represented on the public dime by Miriam Conrad, the chief federal public defender for Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island along with a prominent San Diego lawyer and death penalty opponent Judy Clarke.

Each woman has successfully avoided the death penalty for some of the nation’s most notorious terrorists and criminals, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, who drowned her two children by driving her car into a lake; Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph; and, most recently, Jared Loughner, who killed six people and severely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Tsarnaev is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill after he admitted his role to officials in the April 15 attack.

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