Sunday, September 16, 2012
A black woman who is an exotic dancer and paralegal and was accused of spending nearly $24,000 worth of federal aid on plastic surgery, a car stereo system and a pink paint job for her car has been jailed for food stamp fraud
Appearing in Florida courtroom, Brenda Charlestain, 28, testified to being homeless and unemployed when she applied for the aid to help her and her five children. Thanks to her later work dancing, however, she made over $85,000 a year in tips. Charlestain argued that of the accused total a large portion were gifts from male customers at various adult entertainment clubs in Southern Florida. She said $9,187 was gifted to her for cosmetic enhancements and $1,100 for a sound system for her 2008 Dodge Charger - made a bright pink with government money according to prosecutors. Between March 2010 and June 2012, court records show that she received $900 to $1,100 in government aid every month. She said that out of her aid and tips she paid $1,200 a month in rent and $326 in monthly car payments. Having pleaded guilty to the federal fraud charges earlier in 2012, as well as in providing a firearm to a convicted felon, her husband, she has been sentenced to 1 1/2 years in a federal prison. Begging for leniency from the judge, Charlestain asked for a downgraded sentence to house arrest while stressing various obstacles she has overcome in life, starting with her father's death when she was 10 and becoming pregnant at the age of 14. She said that despite her rough childhood she went on to become a paralegal, though it was a job she said she lost with her criminal charges. Two days after her firing she said that she obtained a new one working as a receptionist at a medical office. Her attorney earlier in 2012 also fought for her right to get back to work dancing during her trial, while wearing an ankle monitor if needed. According to prosecutors though, they said that the environment was no place for her having previously struck another dancer on the head with the heel of a heavy high-heeled shoe while at Sugardaddy's Adult Cabaret. Charlestain has also been accused of threatening a federal employee in a phone call. Charlestain said that she was only warding off a Voodoo attack her priest had suspected had been placed on her now jailed husband Josny Charlestain, 28, by one of his ex-girlfriends.