Everyone, gather round! Leave everything behind and come live in Minnesota! We'll give you free money and free food and free healthcare and free housing and we'll make it real easy for you to take advantage of the welfare system so you can buy $400,000 worth of cars while still collecting welfare benefits! You can use the money from welfare to buy drugs and then sell the food stamps for money to buy drugs. Hell, some bars around here used to take food stamps for drinks! Let us worry about the problems! County: Welfare couple spent $161,000 on cars While receiving financial assistance amounting to almost $20,000, a Duluth couple hid an inheritance with which they went on a spending spree. By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune A Duluth couple with five children is accused of buying a new Cadillac Escalade SUV and a new Nissan Titan pickup at the same time as they were drawing St. Louis County welfare benefits. James Lauer, 49, and Tari Lee Lauer, 42, each are charged with five counts of welfare fraud, including four felonies apiece, for wrongfully obtaining public assistance. They’re accused of wrongfully receiving cash, food support, medical assistance and child-care assistance totaling almost $20,000 during various periods from October 2006 to July 2008 while failing to report about $400,000 in income and assets. They’ve been summoned to appear in St. Louis County District Court to face the charges on Aug. 12. Tari Lauer didn’t return a recorded phone message left for her on Thursday. She was in the news last month when she reported her mother and brother to Duluth police for reportedly growing marijuana in the basement of the house where the mother and son lived across the street from Kenwood Elementary School. Carolyn Joanna Brooks and Robert Brooks Hoel are each charged with felony sale of marijuana in a school zone. In 2008, Tari Lauer pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment after admitting to smoking crack cocaine in her residence and exposing her twins to the smoke. The twins were 3 at the time. The crime was discovered after a St. Louis County social worker made an unannounced visit to the home. According to the complaint charging James and Tari Lauer with welfare fraud: The couple reported that neither they nor any household members received unearned income or owned assets such as cash, bank accounts, other financial assets or vehicles. However, an investigator with the St. Louis County Fraud Prevention Unit discovered that Tari Lauer had received a large cash inheritance from her deceased father. On March 28, 2008 — at a time she was receiving public assistance — she deposited $50,000 into a checking account and on April 18, 2008, deposited another $246,781.10 into a checking account. Tari Lauer received a used Cadillac Deville from her deceased father’s estate, which was not reported to the county. Three months later, she purchased a $37,000 Chevrolet Avalanche sport utility truck. Four months later she purchased a $67,094 Cadillac Escalade and bought her husband a $38,680.07 Nissan Titan on the same day. A month later, the couple purchased a 2007 Ford Mustang convertible for $18,283.43 that is registered in both their names. An investigator with the St. Louis County Fraud Prevention Unit interviewed Tari Lauer. She admitted that she didn’t report any of her vehicles or her inheritance to her St. Louis County financial worker. She said a combination of her drug addiction and her husband’s “deliberate orchestrating of the situation and taking advantage of her” caused the fraud, the complaint alleges. Tari Lauer has a Duluth address. James Lauer now has an Oakdale, Minn., address, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint against James Lauer alleges that he used medical assistance to pay for thousands of dollars in prescriptions and other medical expenses after the time that he was aware of the couple’s ineligibility for benefits.