No contest pleas in San Bruno blast fraud cases 

Two women accused of trying to obtain financial aid intended for victims of the San Bruno pipeline explosion pleaded no contest Tuesday to two felonies, San Mateo County’s top prosecutor said.

Lisa Monique Justin, 42, and Sonya Smith, 44, each pleaded no contest to perjury and burglary in a plea agreement allowing for up to two years in prison, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Prosecutors agreed to drop two other charges against Justin and Smith, both of San Bruno, that could have added three additional years. They are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 15.

“We’ve said from Day 1, we believe anybody who takes advantage of a situation like this belongs in prison,” Wagstaffe said.

Prosecutors said Justin and Smith went to a Department of Motor Vehicles table at a victim’s center set up after the Sept. 9 blast, which destroyed 37 homes and killed eight people, and filled out forms claiming to be disaster victims.

They used a fraudulent address they found on the Internet and requested phony identification so they could get further aid from PG&E, officials said.

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Shaun Bishop

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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

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