Area women enter pleas, sentenced for welfare fraud

Five area women are among 14 individuals recently prosecuted for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits, the Office of Inspector General announced today.

  • Miriam L. Burgos, 52, of Lancaster, Lancaster County, received more than $3,200 in SNAP benefits.  Burgos pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Anabell DeAlba, 30, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $27,950 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Banks pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to seven years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Tiffany L. Ellmaker, 32, of Lebanon, Lebanon County, received more than $2,600 in SNAP benefits.  Ellmaker pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, 15 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Melissa Martinez, 37, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $46,150 in Subsidized Day Care (SDC) benefits.  Martinez pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SDC benefits for a period of six months.
  • Leslie N. Waters, 37, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $700 in SNAP benefits.  Waters pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 10 months probation, 20 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

The Office of Inspector General’s Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution is responsible for investigating welfare fraud and conducting collection activities for programs administered by, or contracted through, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW).

The Office of Inspector General works with DPW’s county assistance offices statewide to identify suspected cases of public assistance fraud and with local district attorneys to bring the cases to prosecution.

Those found guilty of welfare fraud could face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, fines up to $15,000, mandatory restitution, and program disqualification.

The Office of Inspector General also relies on tips from concerned citizens. To report suspected fraud, call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582. Callers may remain anonymous.

Visit the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General online at www.oig.state.pa.us.