Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Announces August Welfare Fraud Adjudications

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Twelve Pennsylvania residents pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and/or were sentenced for their crimes during August, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today.

"Those who deliberately take advantage of public assistance programs will be caught and punished for their crimes," Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner said. "These adjudications show that the Office of Inspector General is committed to safeguarding and restoring taxpayers' money."   

The following individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:

  • Gregory S. Beiler, 31, of Adamstown, Lancaster County, received more than $1,050 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.  Beiler was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Patrice A. Bright, 44, of Chester, Delaware County, received $1,400 in SNAP benefits. Bright was sentenced to 1 year probation, 40 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Evann Conant-Knapp, 44, of Hermitage, Mercer County, received more than $24,250 in SNAP benefits. Conant-Knapp was sentenced to 3-24 months incarceration, one year probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Wimari Cruz, 29, of Lancaster, Lancaster County, received more than $2,000 in SNAP benefits. Cruz was ordered to pay full restitution and costs. 
  • Kirstie M. Denovitz, 22, of Camp Hill, Cumberland County, and Marina A. Denovitz, 40, of Leola, Lancaster County, received more than $1,300 in SNAP benefits. Both were ordered to pay full restitution and costs. 
  • Jennifer Hughart, 46, of Kunkletown, Carbon County, received $1,650 in SNAP benefits.  Hughart was sentenced to 2 years probation, 100 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution. 
  • Lisa M. McDowell, 30, of Emporium, Cameron County, received more than $1,700 in SNAP benefits. McDowell was sentenced to 2 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and fines.
  • Emma C. Meek, 43, of Grassflat, Clearfield County, received more than $1850 in SNAP benefits. Meek was sentenced to 2 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Patricia M. Prescott, 33, of Eldred, McKean County, received more than $3,000 in subsidized child care benefits. Prescott was sentenced to 3 years probation, 100 hours of community service and was ordered to pay full restitution.
  • Edward L. Rogers, 49, of Ridgway, Elk County, received more than $2,000 in cash assistance benefits. Rogers was sentenced to 3 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines. 
  • Shamica Williams, 33, of Erie, Erie County, received more than $8,300 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Williams was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution.

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. 

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

Anyone 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.

Media contact: Melissa K. Yerges, 717-787-6835

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General



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http://www.oig.state.pa.us

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