State prosecutes 19 welfare fraud cases, recovers $87,730.67 in restitution

welfare fraud

HARRISBURG, Pa. –During the month of August, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) successfully adjudicated 19 welfare fraud cases involving 15 defendants. These 19 cases will bring the commonwealth $87,730.67 in restitution and will generate additional cost savings as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving future public benefits in the programs they defrauded. These 19 cases resulted in either a guilty plea or a finding of guilt.  In three cases sentencing has yet to occur.

“These successful adjudications are a result of working partnerships on behalf of Pennsylvania’s tax-payers,” Acting Inspector General Tyrone Powell said. “OIG’s Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution works with the Department of Human Services’ County Assistance Offices around the state to identify and investigate suspected cases of public assistance fraud and with local district attorneys to prosecute cases. These partnerships help ensure that public benefits are distributed fairly and equitably to the people who really qualify for them.”

The following individuals were prosecuted between August 1 and August 31, for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:

·   Dabney Hill, 58, of Steelton, Dauphin County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $2,156 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. He was sentenced to 24 months in an intermediate punishment program, the first six months to be served on house arrest with electronic monitoring, and ordered to pay restitution in full, plus a $300 fine and court costs. He also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Kay Bryan, 60, of Ephrata, Lancaster County, was found guilty by a jury of fraudulently obtaining $1,775.66 in cash assistance benefits. She was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay restitution. She also was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for 6 months.

·   Clarence Ramsey, 70, of Hyde in Clearfield County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $17,602.76 in medical assistance. He is awaiting sentencing on Oct. 4.

·   Tery Snyder, 33, of Chambersburg, Franklin County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $1,012 in SNAP benefits. She was ordered to pay restitution in full, plus a fine and court costs. She also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Daniel Avila, 69, of Greencastle, Franklin County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $2,700 in SNAP benefits and $5,537.82 in medical assistance. He was sentenced to 60 months of probation and ordered to pay restitution in full, plus fines and court costs. He also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Michael Rodriguez, 37, of York, York County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $1,324 in SNAP benefits and $205 in cash assistance. He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in full and court costs. He also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months and cash assistance for six months.

·   Chad McConahy, 30, of Saint Mary’s, Elk County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $2,620.96 in medical assistance. He was sentenced to one to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution in full.

·   Keishla Sanchez, 24, of York, York County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $1,991 in SNAP benefits. She was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in full and court costs. She also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Theresa Robey, 44, of Cambridge Spring, Crawford County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $4,754 in SNAP benefits. She has paid restitution in full. She is awaiting sentencing on Oct. 4. She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Evelyn Lininger, 40, of McConnellsburg, Fulton County, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $10,979 in SNAP benefits and $5,962.62 in medical assistance. She was sentenced to 30 months of probation and ordered to pay restitution in full, plus fines and court costs. She also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Adam Sparkevicius, 49, of Warminster, Bucks County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $5,217 in SNAP benefits. He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay court costs. He also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Misty Forlina, 34, of Altoona, Blair County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $4,453 in SNAP benefits and $3,617.77 in medical assistance benefits. She was sentenced to 18 months of probation for each offense, to run consecutively, and was ordered to pay probation fees for the first 18 months and court costs. She also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Erica Nieves, 41, of Allentown, Lehigh County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $5,421 in SNAP benefits. She was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in full, plus $2,131.05 in court costs. She also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Amy Cole, 30, of Williamsport, Lycoming County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $1,978 in SNAP benefits. She was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 25 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution in full, plus court costs. She also was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

·   Jackie Whitman, 29, of Centerville, Crawford County, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $8,423.08 in medical assistance. She is awaiting sentencing on October 11.

To report suspected fraud, please call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582 or visit the OIG website at www.oig.state.pa.us. Tipsters may remain anonymous.