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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Diffenderfer Sentenced in Fraud involving Sober Living homes and Welfare Fraud

Santa Rosa, CA  –  September 14, 2016  –  Ricky Lee Diffenderfer, 66-years-old of Reno, Nevada was sentenced on September 13, 2016 to 2 years in state prison by the Honorable Judge Conger for the crimes of defrauding individuals renting rooms in sober living homes, as well as defrauding the Human Services Department.  Mr. Diffenderfer will serve his sentence in the Sonoma County Jail pursuant to Penal Code 1170(h). 

Mr. Diffenderfer applied for Cal Fresh Food Stamps with the Sonoma County Human Services Department. He was granted that aid based on a reported total lack of income. However, Mr. Diffenderfer had misrepresented his income by failing to report that he was receiving thousands of dollars monthly in rent from multiple clients who were renting rooms in various sober living homes. He also misrepresented his education and license status to many individuals and families seeking addiction treatment for themselves or loved ones. Mr. Diffenderfer took money from individuals or their families for addiction treatment services but failed to provide the appropriate treatments. As part of his sentence Mr. Diffenderfer has been ordered to pay back the monies he received as a result of his crimes.

District Attorney Ravitch stated: “Those who intentionally misrepresent their need in order to obtain public assistance they otherwise would not qualify for make it more difficult to continue to aid those who are truly in need.  To compound that wrong by also defrauding those seeking assistance with addiction treatment, is to take advantage of people in very vulnerable situations. The impact of these crimes on the community as a whole is great, and our office will continue to prosecute these cases fully.”

The investigation in this matter was conducted by the Sonoma County Welfare Fraud Special Investigations Unit and prosecuted by the Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the District Attorneys’ Office.  


Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone
600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273