Minnesotan who lived on yacht, collected aid, gets 21 months in prison

By David Bailey

By David Bailey

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A Minnesota man who collected food stamps and other public assistance while living with his wife on a yacht valued at $1.2 million, was sentenced on Monday to 21 months in prison.

Colin Chisholm III, 63, pleaded guilty in November to two felonies, theft by swindle and wrongfully obtaining public assistance. The sentence handed down by a Hennepin County judge matched the prison time prosecutors sought.

Chisholm did not speak at the sentencing, prosecutors said.

Chisholm and his wife, Andrea Chisholm, 54, could have expected a sentence of probation under state sentencing guidelines. But Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman sought prison terms because of the severity of the economic crimes.

The Chisholms obtained nearly $168,000 in food, cash and medical care while living on the yacht in Florida and later in a lakeside home in an upscale suburb of Minneapolis, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they had filed more than a dozen forms seeking county and Minnesota state aid from late 2004 into 2012 that failed to disclose where they were living.

The forms also did not disclose that Colin Chisholm was listed as chief executive for a satellite television company in the Caribbean, prosecutors said.

Andrea Chisholm, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the fraud and was sentenced previously to a year and a day in prison, owned a Twin Cities dog kennel that bred and sold championship dogs.

The Chisholms plan to challenge the judge's order to pay more than $167,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)