ST. PAUL --- A Fargo man who scammed Minnesota welfare programs out of hundreds of thousands of dollars will spend the next decade in prison.

Elfonzo Dyrell Shelby was sentenced Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court to just over 14 years in prison for committing identity theft and theft by swindle, according to court records.

The 47-year-old used information he collected on phony surveys he sent out to inmates at a correctional facility in Mississippi to create actual and fake identities, authorities say.

He used the identities to scam the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ general assistance and food stamp programs in Ramsey, Hennepin and Renville counties out of more than $300,000, according to legal documents.

Shelby pleaded guilty to the allegations in September.

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