Former gang member/"Pastor" Michael Salman -- who falsely cried persecution to any media outlet that would buy his story last year -- is once again a convicted felon.
Salman pleaded guilty to felony theft and felony forgery last week, as Salman, his wife, and his brother admitted to defrauding AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program, of more than $118,000.
-"Pastor" Michael Salman Indicted for AHCCCS Fraud
-Michael Salman wants to build a church in his backyard
-Michael Salman is not in jail for having Bible studies in his home
-Michael Salman claims his "right to hold Bible studies in jail" was violated
-Joe Arpaio and Michael Salman keep inmates bored to death at Tent City
New Times has been writing about Salman fairly extensively since 2008, as Salman's urge to build a church in his backyard drew the ire of his neighbors. Last year, his story went national, as he cried "religious persecution" to many media outlets, and a lot of them bought it, including Fox News.
Since we spent a few minutes looking into Salman and what he was actually doing -- breaking the law -- we called bullshit, and others followed suit. Some still weren't convinced that Salman was scammin', until he was indicted by a grand jury in the AHCCCS fraud case.
According to Attorney General Tom Horne, Salman lied about his household income on applications for AHCCCS benefits, and lied in a statement to the state Department of Economic Security. Salman's wife Suzanne Salman, and his brother Frank Salman, were also accused of lying on applications.
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Due to those alleged lies, AHCCCS paid out $73,000 for medical coverage for Salman, his wife, and his children. AHCCCS paid out $45,000 for Frank Salman and his children.
If you wonder how needy Michael Salman and his family were, then get a load of this -- Horne's office says today that Michael and Suzanne Salman paid back the $73,808.92 they had scammed out of AHCCCS. That probably means the Salmans weren't even close to qualifying for AHCCCS, if they just happened to have 73-grand sitting around.
Michael Salman was sentenced to three years of probation for this felony. Salman served nearly six years in prison for a drive-by shooting he carried out in the summer of 1992. He was also caught with LSD while serving this sentence.
More recently, Salman served a couple months in Tent City after being found guilty of 67 misdemeanors related to an illegal building he constructed in his backyard and his unwillingness to comply with the City of Phoenix's zoning rules.