PA Inspector General charged 68 people with welfare fraud in May

WELFARE FRAUD

HARRISBURG — A total of 68 people — including seven from Dauphin County, six from Lancaster County, three from York County, two from Franklin County, and one each from Adams and Lebanon Counties — were charged with welfare fraud by the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General in the month of May, the agency announced Wednesday.

The restitution owed to the commonwealth in these cases totals $269,585.68, the office says. There will be additional cost savings realized, because the defendants are temporarily disqualified from receiving benefits in the programs they allegedly defrauded.

The defendants in these cases defrauded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), medical assistance, day care, cash assistance and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Of those cases, SNAP was the hardest hit, as $170,645.35 in fraudulent claims were filed.

“May’s charges include criminal filings for SNAP trafficking that emerged from a narcotics investigation initiated by the Harrisburg Police Department (HPD) earlier this year, regarding a Harrisburg-based restaurant,” Inspector General Bruce R. Beemer said in a press release announcing the charges. “When HPD executed their search warrant and discovered multiple Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Cards, they contacted the OIG, and we worked cooperatively to bring criminal charges for trafficking.  It stands as an example of great teamwork and communication between law enforcement and the OIG.  SNAP trafficking occurs when benefits are exchanged for cash, narcotics, or anything other than the food for which they are intended. The OIG takes this type of fraud very seriously.”

The OIG filed 25 criminal cases of fraudulently receiving public assistance in Pennsylvania that were graded as a felony of the third degree.

The defendants are:

  • Teia McRea, 46, of Erie in Erie County, for $6,591 in SNAP fraud and $4,898 in cash assistance fraud.
  • Roxie E. Rogers, 32, of Norristown in Montgomery County, for $3,526 in SNAP fraud.
  • Melissa Rossi, 40, of Erie in Erie County, for $1,637 in SNAP fraud, $8,059.90 in medical assistance fraud and $1,692 in subsidized day care fraud.
  • Dinah M. Mason, 59, of Irwin in Westmoreland County, for $4,653 in SNAP fraud and $24,565.55 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Jennifer L. Smith, 33, of Hanover in Adams County, for $1,512 in SNAP fraud and $3,833.12 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Samantha Bookamer, 33, of Franklin in Venango County, for $7,613 in SNAP fraud.
  • Rasheeda S. Martin, 37, of York in York County, for $25,618 in SNAP fraud and $8,486.50 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Sondra D. Corradini, 43, of Hazleton in Luzerne County, for $3,020 in SNAP fraud.
  • Tanya E. Kelly, 53, of Phoenixville in Chester County, for $4,785 in SNAP fraud.
  • Jenise L. Minik, 38, of New Kensington in Westmoreland County, for $2,368 in SNAP fraud and $4,419.18 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Eleanor Smith, 55, of Nemacolin in Greene County, for $3,570 in SNAP fraud.
  • Rustina Stout, 37, of Stroudsburg in Monroe County, for $3,194 in SNAP fraud and $830 in LIHEAP fraud.
  • Tracey E. Roura, 32, of York in York County, for $4,902 in SNAP fraud.
  • Michael J. Kipe, 64, of Warfordsburg in Fulton County, for $2,872 in SNAP fraud, $7,270.24 in medical assistance fraud and $364 in LIHEAP fraud.
  • Lettycia Almodovar, 40, of Lancaster in Lancaster County, for $6,130 in SNAP fraud.
  • Betsy Caraballo, 23, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for exchanging $1,390.43 in SNAP benefits on her EBT Card for merchandise or cash.
  • Sade’ V. Henley, 22, of Greensburg in Westmoreland County, for $3,208 in SNAP fraud.
  • Linda M. Smith, 47, and Thomas J. Smith, 38, of Tionesta in Forest County, for $2,296 in SNAP fraud, $3,131.52 in medical assistance fraud and $1,104 in LIHEAP fraud.
  • Maria A. Paulding, 45, of Erie in Erie County, for $4,327 in SNAP fraud.
  • Brian R. Dunmire, 38, of Jeannette in Westmoreland County, for $3,689.32 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Noemi Serrata Uceta, 44, of Paradise in Lancaster County, for $3,143 in SNAP fraud.
  • Elisabel V. Berrios, 31, formerly of Manheim in Lancaster County, for $4,378 in SNAP fraud and $4,924.82 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Christina Sanchez, 31, of Akron in Lancaster County, for $4,489 in SNAP fraud.
  • Christy L. Oatman, 31, of Lancaster in Lancaster County, for $3,455 in SNAP fraud.

If convicted, the maximum penalty they face is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000, plus a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they defrauded.

The OIG filed 34 criminal cases of fraudulently receiving public assistance in Pennsylvania that were graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The defendants are:

  • Zusete Alvarez, 45, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for $1,937 in SNAP fraud and $1,592 in cash assistance fraud.
  • Anthony Flego, 42, of Philadelphia, for $2,044 in SNAP fraud and $1,007.50 in cash assistance fraud.
  • Valeri R. Kiss, 32, of Uniontown in Fayette County, for $2,177 in cash assistance.
  • Soleini Rodriguez, 25, of Hazleton in Luzerne County, for $1,738 in cash assistance.
  • Brandy L. Bishop, 37, of Sharon in Mercer County, for $2,897.50 in cash assistance.
  • Melissa L. Cornelius, 28, of Beaver Falls in Beaver County, for $639 in SNAP fraud and $1,029.26 in cash assistance fraud.
  • Dawn M. Bass, 23, of Vanderbilt in Fayette County, for $2,614.20 in cash assistance fraud.
  • Francisco Vargas, 40, of Chambersburg in Franklin County, for $2,641 in SNAP fraud.
  • Jacob A. Kaiser, 26, of Chambersburg in Franklin County, for $1,825 in SNAP fraud.
  • Amanda L. Vanhooser, 37, of Monessen in Westmoreland County, for $1,422 in SNAP fraud and $2,798.08 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Amy R. Stanczyk, 33, of Central City in Somerset County, for $2,105 in SNAP fraud and $1,025.30 in LIHEAP benefits.
  • Juvi E. Harris, 30, of Royersford in Montgomery County, for $1,428 in SNAP fraud.
  • Jessica M. Capwell, 36, of Allentown in Lehigh County, for $1,972 in SNAP fraud.
  • Billie J. Strawser, 35, of Mifflintown in Juniata County, for $2,510 in SNAP fraud.
  • Tara Carlino, 24, of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, for $2,501 in SNAP fraud.
  • Lydia Rivera, 51, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for $2,494 in SNAP fraud.
  • Darryl Calderon, 28, of McKees Rocks in Allegheny County, for $1,357.29 in SNAP fraud and $652 in LIHEAP fraud.
  • Stephanie B. Twyman, 31, of Willow Grove in Montgomery County, for $1,905 in SNAP fraud.
  • Ebony L. Gordon, 33, of Cheltenham of Montgomery County, for $2,946 in SNAP fraud.
  • Abubakarr Nabay, 45, of King of Prussia in Montgomery County, for $2,004 in SNAP fraud.
  • Lourdes Martinez, 43, of York in York County, for $1,821 in SNAP fraud.
  • Amzie L. Denson, 38, of Norristown in Montgomery County, for $2,870 in SNAP fraud.
  • Luis R. Aviles Hernandez, 42, of Hazleton in Luzerne County, for $2,328 in SNAP fraud.
  • Ciara E. Morales, 23, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for exchanging $361.92 in SNAP benefits on her EBT Card for merchandise or cash.
  • Anjelo S. Kellum, 29, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for exchanging $515.56 in SNAP benefits on his EBT Card for merchandise or cash.
  • Daniel O. Quinones, 32, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for exchanging $245.57 in SNAP benefits on his EBT Card for merchandise or cash.
  • Jeremy A. Robinson, 26, of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, for exchanging $557.58 in SNAP benefits on his EBT Card for merchandise or cash.
  • Roy E. Turner, Jr., 26, of Meadville in Crawford County, for $2,378 in SNAP fraud.
  • Donia L. Bradley, 45, of Coatesville in Chester County, for $1,963 in SNAP fraud.
  • Julie A. Rhoades, 37, of Warfordsburg in Fulton County, for $1,605 in SNAP fraud.
  • Andrea Powell, 32, of Hartstown in Crawford County, for $1,971 in SNAP fraud.
  • Stephanie Hunadi, 35, of Nesquehoning in Carbon County, for $2,555 in SNAP fraud.
  • Rebecca A. Nash, 54, of Warren in Warren County, for $2,122.85 in medical assistance fraud.
  • Todd A. Tirums, 25, of Meadville in Crawford County, for $2,017.59 in medical assistance fraud.

If convicted, the maximum penalty they face is five years in prison and a fine of $10,000, plus a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they defrauded.

The OIG filed eight criminal cases of fraudulently receiving public assistance in Pennsylvania that were graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree.

The defendants are:

  • Felix Thaureaux, 61, of Allentown in Lehigh County, for $1,197 in SNAP fraud.
  • Sarah A. Dixon, 56, of Aliquippa in Beaver County, for $1,404 in SNAP fraud.
  • Jennifer L. Salzano, 34, of West Chester in Chester County, for $1,323 in SNAP fraud.
  • Cassie Priselac, 28, of McKeesport in Allegheny County, for $1,428 in SNAP fraud.
  • Rachel E. Ryland, 33, of Brockway in Jefferson County, for $1,322 in SNAP fraud.
  • Sandra Hammock, 39, of Lebanon in Lebanon County, for $1,364 in SNAP fraud.
  • Lynn A. Pickell, 40, of Lancaster in Lancaster County, for $1,068 in SNAP fraud.
  • Holly M. Baker, 34, of Kittanning in Armstrong County, for $1,016 in SNAP fraud.

If convicted, the maximum penalty they face is two years in prison and a fine of $5,000, plus a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they defrauded.

The OIG filed one criminal case of fraudulently receiving public assistance in Pennsylvania that was graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree. The defendant is:

  • Keith Shaffer, 55, of Palmerton in Carbon County, for $944 in SNAP fraud.

If convicted, the maximum penalty he would face is one year in prison and a fine of $2,500, plus a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program he defrauded.

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