Felony welfare fraud charges in Lackawanna County

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WELFARE FRAUD

Harrisburg, PA – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today that felony welfare fraud charges were filed against Robert Shutta of Dunmore, Lackawanna County.

Mr. Shutta is charged with fraudulently obtaining Long Term Care benefits for his aunt by misrepresenting her available income and resources to the Lackawanna County Assistance Office.  Mr. Shutta failed to report that his aunt was receiving a monthly pension, owned both insurance policies and bank accounts, and received monies from the sale of property.  Mr. Shutta provided false information to the Lackawanna County Assistance Office which allowed him to benefit from his aunt’s income and resources.

The Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office also charged Mr. Shutta with the theft of $360,318.03 from his aunt while acting as her Power of Attorney

“The Commonwealth is compassionate to those who truly need public assistance,” Inspector General Grayling G. Williams said.  “Individuals like Mr. Shutta who cheat the system take away funds from Pennsylvanians in need.  Committing this crime is an act of greed and selfishness.”

Pennsylvania’s Long Term Care program provides nursing home and in-house care for medically and financially eligible individuals.  Each year, the program pays out millions of dollars to ensure that elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians receive the care they need and deserve.

The Office of Inspector General receives referrals from the Department of Human Services (DHS) where it is suspected or verified that Long Term Care Medical Assistance benefits were inappropriately provided to an individual.

In instances such as this, individuals or their personal representatives fail to disclose to the commonwealth income and/or assets such as real estate, stocks, or pensions in order to qualify the individual for Medical Assistance benefits.  When this occurs, the Office of Inspector General investigates and recovers those commonwealth funds that were inappropriately provided.

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, DHS.

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, or 1-844-DHS-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous.

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