DSHS: Cannabis grower tapped welfare aid without reporting income

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WENATCHEE — A Chelan cannabis grower stands accused of defrauding state welfare agencies while bringing in more than a million dollars of gross income from his farm operation.

Jeffrey E. Oberfelder, 57, opened his Chelan cannabis farm in 2014. Over the next three years, the Department of Social and Health Services says, he failed to report about $1.1 million in cannabis sales, at the same time he was receiving state food and medical benefits.

Oberfelder allegedly reported his sales to the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board as required by law, but not to DSHS while he was applying for state aid. As a result, the agency said in an investigative report filed in Chelan County Superior Court, Oberfelder illegally received $17,700 in food aid.

Prosecutors charged him Jan. 23 with first-degree theft, second-degree perjury, and false verification for public assistance, all felonies. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Monday.