One the most elaborate cases of welfare fraud in state history came to an end yesterday when Colin Chisholm was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
The Chisholms took more than $160,000 in welfare benefits while living on a million-dollar yacht in Florida, insisting they were descendants of Scottish aristocrats and that they be called Lord and Lady Chisholm. Colin's wife, Andrea, pleaded guilty in August and has already finished her eight-month sentence, which counted time served while legal proceedings played out.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, Colin Chisholm held on to his delusions until the very end. In a pre-sentencing interview with his probation officer, "he made it sound as though it was his mother-in-law's fault because she suggested he apply for unemployment and a Hennepin County employee's fault for saying he didn't qualify for unemployment but might qualify for medical assistance. Chisholm said being told he qualified, 'was the worst thing to ever happen,' Chisholm was quoted as telling the probation officer."
For a full background on the lavish lifestyle the Chisholms built on quicksand, we recommend our feature from May.
In all, the couple claimed to be worth nearly $100 million while taking welfare benefits from Minnesota.
At the sentencing Colin was asked if he wanted to say anything. He paused for a long moment, then said he did not. Judge Lois Conroy shamed him on the way out.
"You have an opportunity to turn your life around," Conroy told him. "For yourself, for your family, and for society, I hope you choose to do so."
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