Candidate's campaign credentials don't check out
While the state says she was illegally collecting food stamps, State Senate candidate Bekah Halat reports spending thousands of dollars of her own money on her campaign.
Halat currently faces felony charges for welfare fraud.
After digging into claims made in Halat's candidacy, KTVA found several that don't appear to check out.
On paper, 33-year-old Bekah Halat is an accomplished woman. Her campaign website says she owns two businesses and lists more than a dozen awards -- including being named Mrs. Alaska in 2014.
But, there doesn't appear to be any evidence of Halat in that role online.
According to the Mrs. Alaska USA's website, Mrs. Alaska 2014 was a woman named Erica Chilla. And the Mrs. Alaska America pageant says their winner that year was April Wallen. Both pageants say they are the only two sanctioned pageants in the state.
According to their records, Halat has never won a state pageant, though she has competed in the past.
But, that's perhaps the most benign of the inconsistencies in Halat's campaign.
Earlier this month, the State of Alaska filed felony charges against Halat and her husband, Jarek, for welfare fraud. According to charging documents, investigators found the couple had a bank account that contained between $35,000 and $40,000 the pair hadn't reported to the state. Investigators later concluded the couple was "well-above the food stamps resource limit during the entire time they received food stamps."
During that same time, Halat somehow contributed thousands of dollars of her own money to her campaign. According to Halat's campaign finance report, filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Halat made two $2,000 deposits into her campaign account last month while on public assistance.
Halat identifies as self-employed on the report, listing her occupation as "businesswoman."
But according to state records, Halat has just one active business license-- for a mobile food service called Super Beans.
A Facebook page with that name identifies the business as a coffee shop, but a visit to the location listed online led to an empty parking lot.
With several claims that don't appear to match up, Halat's bid for office now raises questions about whether what's printed on her campaign website is really an accurate reflection of what's written in her past.
KTVA reached out to Halat to inquire about all of the discrepancies, including whether Super Beans is still operational, but has not received a response.
Meanwhile, Halat and her husband are scheduled for an arraignment on charges of food stamp fraud on August 24, three days after the primary election.
According to the Dept. of Law, Halat could face jail time if convicted on all charges -- up to six years in prison. Her husband faces similar charges.
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