Jury convicts Harrisburg woman of welfare fraud

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – It took a Dauphin County jury just over an hour Wednesday afternoon to convict 24 year old Trenika D. Marshall of violating Pennsylvania’s public assistance law.

The Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General brought the charges on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services alleging that Marshall willfully omitted material facts which caused her to receive $2,929 in SNAP, also known as Food Stamp, benefits which she was not entitled to receive.

Under Pennsylvania law, anybody who receives welfare benefits is required to notify Human Services if and when they gain employment or otherwise have a change in income. Every welfare recipient is made aware of this requirement both verbally and in writing when applying for benefits.

In this case, Marshall had been receiving $610 per month in SNAP Benefits. She then obtained a job with Harrisburg School District and 10 months went by before Human Services was alerted by the Department of Labor that Marshall was receiving income from the school. As soon as Human Services was notified of the income they began investigating her account with the help of the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General (OIG) and learned that she was working at the school district when she filled out her last application and that she failed to report that employment on her application.

Of significance was the fact that Marshall contacted Human Services via phone on several occasions during the same 10 month time period yet never once did she mention her employment to caseworkers even after being notified of her duty to do so.

Agent Lindsay Wenrich lead the investigation on behalf of the OIG which ended with an interview of Marshall during which she became very loud and combative to the point where a building security guard responded to the interview room to check on everyone’s safety. Marshall remained evasive throughout the entire interview and when asked whether Human Services informed her that she had to report any changes in income her response was “They always tell you that.” She then went on to explain how it was just a mistake.

The Jury disagreed.