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A Racine woman made an initial appearance in court Thursday for fraudulently receiving thousands of dollars in food stamp and medical assistance.

Barbara Peterson, 50, of Racine, was charged in November by the Racine County Sheriff’s Department with felony theft – false representation over $10,000. She failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

According to the criminal complaint, a fraud investigator with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department discovered that Peterson received food stamps and medical assistance services between Feb. 2009 and Aug. 2013. She claimed that her child was a household member, but this was not the case. The girl lived with her father, who had custody of the girl.

Peterson received about $38,000 from the state assistance program.

If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and/or fined up to $25,000.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.