Couple wanted for welfare fraud arrested in Florida

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The wealthy couple wanted in Minnesota for welfare fraud was deported from the Bahamas Monday and arrested that night when they landed near Ft. Lauderdale.

Colin Chisholm III and his wife Andrea made a first appearance in Ft. Lauderdale today and were being held without bond and are expected to make an appearance in extradition court Wednesday where they will have an opportunity to say whether they will willingly return to Minnesota or fight extradition.

The arrest brought to a close an exhaustive by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office for the couple, starting with their home in Deephaven and expanding to locations across the United States and the Bahamas. The Minnesota Violent Crime Task Force, which includes the FBI, also helped with the search and was able to contact the Miami FBI office and other federal agencies last week. Miami agents then informed every Florida port to watch for the Chisholms.

Monday, the couple was visited by police in Freeport, Grand Bahama and told their visas had expired. The police escorted the couple, their son and dog onto a ship bound for Ft. Lauderdale. When they landed in Port Everglades, they were arrested and taken to the Broward County Jail. The Chisholms’ son and dog were turned over to other family members.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged both Colin and Andrea with one count of wrongfully obtaining public assistance over $35,000 after they illegally received more than $165,000 from various government programs designed to help the poor. During the period of 2005 to 2012, while receiving the benefits, they owned a luxury yacht and controlled bank accounts through which millions of dollars flowed.

The county attorney’s office has asked that the couple be extradited back to Minneapolis to stand trial on the charges.

The county attorney’s office appreciates all of the tips from citizens on contacts they had with the Chisholms and where they might be located.