Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Millionaire who fraudulently collected $168,000 in welfare handed 21 months in prison

Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, Colin Chisholm III would ordinarily have been given probation for fraudulently taking public assistance. But because the self-described Scottish aristocrat and his wife took $167,420 worth of food stamps, Medicaid, and other government aid over seven years — while living on a $2.1 million yacht in Florida and lakeside mansion outside Minneapolis — prosecutors in Hennepin County, Minnesota, won a 21-month jail sentence for Chisholm on Monday.

Aside from their luxurious dwellings, Colin and Andrea Chisholm had $3 million in the bank while they were collecting welfare, prosecutors say. Colin Chisholm, 63, is chief executive of a purported satellite TV and broadband company that serves the Caribbean, and Andrea Chisholm, 54 — who was sentenced to a year in prison four months ago, and is already out on probation — owned a kennel in the Twin Cities that bred award-winning Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

"Too often, people think that only poor people commit crimes," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. "We know that is not true, and the Chisholms are a perfect example." The couple was also ordered to pay back the $167,420, but is appealing the amount. The Chisholms also fraudulently collected welfare from Florida, but prosecutors there determined that the statute of limitations has expired.