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Linda Taylor: Welfare Queen

infamous Welfare Queen Linda Taylor

infamous Welfare Queen Linda Taylor

 
 
Linda Taylor (born either Martha Miller or Martha Louise White( c. 1926 – April 18, 2002) was an American criminal who committed extensive welfare fraud and became identified as the “welfare queen“. Stories of her activities were used by Ronald Reagan, starting with his 1976 presidential campaign, to illustrate his criticisms of social programs in the United States.Her criminal activities are believed to have extended beyond welfare fraud and may have included assault, theft, insurance fraud, bigamy, the abduction and sale of children, and possibly even murder.

Testimony from a 1964 probate hearing for the estate of Lawrence Wakefield, which Taylor was trying to claim, indicated that she was born around 1926 in Summit, Alabama, under the name Martha Louise White. However, she denied being Martha Louise White. She has been identified from United States Census records as being Martha Miller, born in Tennessee sometime between 1925 and 1927 to Joe and Lidy Miller. In either case she was identified as being white, possibly with some Native American ancestry, although throughout her life she presented herself as being of various racial and ethnic identities, including black, Asian, Hispanic and Jewish. She also represented herself as being many different ages, with one government official stating in 1974 that “it appears she can be any age she wishes, from the early 20s to the early 50s.”

Although she became famous under the name ‘Linda Taylor’, news reports indicated that she used as many as 80 different names, often with false identification documents to match. Her aliases included ‘Linda Bennett’, ‘Connie Jarvis’, ‘Linda Jones’, ‘Constance Loyd’, ‘Linda Lynch’, ‘Linda Mallexo’, ‘Linda Ray’, ‘Constance Rayne’, ‘Linda Sholvia’, ‘Linda Taylor’, ‘Constance Wakefield’, and ‘Connie Walker’. Her many identities included using the title ‘Reverend‘ and posing as a nurse, a doctor, and a spiritual adviser who used Haitian Voodoo.

 

On August 8, 1974, Taylor filed a police report claiming that she had been robbed of $14,000 in “cash, jewelry, and furs”.Detective Jack Sherwin, who took the report, recognized her from a similar, previous report and suspected her of insurance fraud. Upon investigating her, Sherwin discovered Taylor was wanted on welfare fraud charges in Michigan. She was arrested at the end of August 1974 for possible extradition to Michigan. Released on bond, she fled the state and was a fugitive until October 9, 1974, when she was caught in Tucson, Arizona.

Upon her return to Illinois, prosecutors opened a 31-count indictment against her for fraud, perjury and bigamy, alleging that she had received welfare and Social Security checks under multiple names.Her attorney, R. Eugene Pincham, managed to delay the trial until March 1977, by which time the charges had been considerably reduced. Initial allegations involving 80 aliases and over $100,000 in fraudulently obtained funds had been narrowed to charges involving just $8000 obtained through four aliases, and perjury in her testimony before a grand jury. The bigamy charges were dropped. After a trial lasting less than three weeks, the jury deliberated for about seven hours before finding her guilty on March 17, 1977.

She was sentenced to imprisonment for two to six years on the welfare fraud charges, and a year on the perjury charges, to be served consecutively. She began her sentence at Dwight Correctional Center on February 16, 1978.

After being released from prison, Taylor rejoined Sherman Ray, whom she had married prior to her imprisonment. On August 25, 1983, Ray was shot by Willtrue Loyd, in what was ruled to be an accident. Taylor collected on Ray’s life insurance. Loyd and Taylor moved to Florida and subsequently married in March 1986. When Loyd died in 1992, Taylor (under the alias ‘Linda Lynch’) was listed as his next of kin, but claimed to be his granddaughter rather than his wife.

Taylor died of a heart attack on April 18, 2002, at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Chicago.Her remains were cremated.

Damion “World” Hardy: American Gangster Part II

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As the story of the CMB became public a lot of other factors involving the hip-hop world, Brooklyn’s street culture and the way the feds manufacture RICO act cases bubbled to the surface. A lot of big names in the entertainment business, including Mike Tyson, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and even Lil’ Kim, were connected to the case and to CMB’s charismatic and notorious leader World, in some form or fashion. The tale that emerged was one of intrigue, betrayal and murder. A tale ripe with all the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster, well suited for the big screen, a Teri Woods hood novel or a big budget Hype Williams produced rap music video. But before we get into the rest of the story let’s meet two men from the CMB crew who were indicted by the feds on the case. Two stand up, death before dishonor soldiers, James “Popsie” Sessoms and Eric “E-Bay” Moore, who are currently buried in the belly of the beast. We got with them to get the exclusive on this ongoing and still concluding story.

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

Popsie- I grew up in Brooklyn, New York in a section labeled “Do or Die” Bedstuy. When I was growing up it was none of this lame shit like what’s going on in the streets now, it was real out there. In my hood it was a lot of thoroughbred street legends like Fruit, Butter, Wise, Rab, Maino, Cino Mike, Killa Ben, Rashon, Wells, Greg, Stan from Marcy, Turf, Shoe, 380, Preme from Fort Green, Dyco from NA Rock, Bewop and Jew Boy. I used to like their style so I emulated them. You had to literally “Do or Die” growing up in the hood. These dudes were knee deep in the street doing what they had to do to survive because somebody is always trying to come for your spot at the top. Most of the people I mentioned are either dead or in jail. So now going through what I’ m going through I know that everything that glitters ain’t gold. And the chicks that was hustling hard are Tawana, Keisha, Tracy, Red, Shawn, Capone, Shon and Shivan.

E-Bay- I grew up in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York. I was raised on West 23rd Avenue, one of the roughest blocks out there in Coney Island. When I was young it was a lot of gangs out there fighting, stabbing each other up, doing anything to claim their territory. There are a lot of different projects so when it goes down it goes down for real so you gotta be on point at all times.

Tell us about Brooklyn and what the street life was about?

Popsie- The streets in BK was crazy, niggas was either selling drugs, robbing, extorting, doing scams or like the other 10%, had a wicked jump shot. The women are real “ride or die chicks.” It was whatever, whenever, it was crazy for real. My friends started selling drugs, getting money. They had the bankrolls, they was popping the bottles and had all the bitches around them. They were driving, had all the fly gear and jewelry. I wanted to be young, fly and flashy too, styling and profiling. There was crazy guns so we would have numerous shootouts, violating anybody who came in our circumference. We were the young guns and we were holding shit down by any means necessary in the hood. But when I got locked up in the feds I found out some of them so called friends took the stand on me and it ate me up from the inside out. So I had to learn the hard way that the decisions you make determine your destiny.

E-Bay- Back in the days it was gangs, but nowadays the gangs out there are more ruthless. It went from fighting and stabbing to now people are getting shot up every day out there. Niggas is hustling on every block trying to be the next kingpin. Then next thing you know the feds are swooping down on them taking them off the streets. Then it’s the next guy trying to take his spot like something different is gonna happen. It’s a whole lot of robberies. Soon as a nigga gets some money they start flossing, so they might be a victim to somebody from a rival projects. It’s always something to get into out there, good or bad, day or night, it’s never a dull moment.

In June 2003, federal agents seized eight kilograms of cocaine at Kennedy International Airport. The authorities connected that shipment, delivered by a courier from  Grenada in the Caribbean, and another one from the West Indies, to the CMB. Taz was the one who was there to pick up the drugs and linked them to the CBM. But it came out in the Raheem trial that the drugs were Taz’s and his only. The FBI said the CMB had a rotating roster of roughly 50 members, but the indictment devastated the mid and upper level management of the gang.  As the investigation into CMB heated up their charismatic leader was very visible in the hip-hop world dating rap vixen Lil’ Kim. World was also suspected of trading shots outside the Double Tree, a New Jersey hotel, with 50 Cent and his entourage in September 2003. New York police also said that World had confronted 50 Cent earlier that year outside radio station Hot 97 after 50 Cent insulted Lil’ Kim on air.

The indictment detailed events that seemed to come straight out of a gangsta rap video. But World’s lawyer was telling another story. “We hope to establish the indictment is very creative but not factually accurate,” Francisco Celedonio, his lawyer said. “My client has always averred his innocence.” To those in the know CMB weren’t even active in the streets anymore and since World had come home from a bid upstate he was more visible in the hip-hop industry then in the streets. But like most cases in the feds CMB’s indictment came about because someone couldn’t stand the heat they themselves generated and sought to pass the blame onto someone else, namely CMB and World.

How did the case come about?

Popsie- Well, I heard that the feds had been fishing around trying to inquire about us, but once World came home he wasn’t dealing in drugs; he was trying to get in the music business. They didn’t have nothing to put on us. But things spiraled outta control once two people who used to affiliate with World (Edward “Taz” Cooke and Allen “Boo” Bryant) got locked up at JFK with eight kilos of cocaine. They started snitching on anyone they could, just to get home. Taz started telling because he had his kids’ mother with him when he went to get the drugs and I heard the feds threatened to take his kids if he didn’t cooperate.

Taz was always a fake punk, wanna-be gangsta, but World used to associate with him because he was his Muslim brother. They never did no business together at all, but let the government tell it Taz was a member and leader of CMB. And the crazy thing is, if he would have shut up he would have been home, but now his lies are catching up to him because the feds finally realized he is making things up as he goes along. He was never in CMB and there was no CMB in the 2000′s.

He was doing things for his own selfish gain, not for World or no one because he was the only one who benefitted from the drugs and murders he tried to say World orchestrated. Then there is Boo who was a close friend of World’s and was not part of CMB when we were younger. World didn’t fuck with Boo no more because when we were younger we found out that Boo was sniffing dope and he tried to deny it because that was a big no-no among us. Boo always envied World because when Boo was up north World had a ménage trios with his girl. Boo was a weak link in the chain and through him the feds built a case outta nothing.

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