2014

Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Announces January 2012 Welfare Fraud Adjudications, Including Mercer County Fraud Ring

 

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fifteen Pennsylvania residents pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and/or were sentenced for their crimes during January, including 11 current and former Mercer County residents who schemed to fraudulently claim more than $750,000 in benefits, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today.

"These filings and adjudications should send a strong message to all the citizens of Pennsylvania," Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner said. "We will not tolerate welfare fraud and are working hard to eradicate it."

The following 11 individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits.  Their fraud scheme netted more than $750,000 for the co-defendants who obtained public assistance, SNAP, child care and other benefits illegally: 

  • Katrina Y. Cain, 38, of Farrell, Mercer County, received more than $14,200 in SNAP and subsidized child care benefits. Cain was sentenced to 18 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Elizabeth E. Carnathan, 30, of Youngstown, Ohio, formerly of Farrell, Mercer County, received more than $14,350 in cash assistance, SNAP, and subsidized child care benefits.  Carnathan was sentenced to 10 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Felicia M. Coxson, 42, of Gainesville, Florida, formerly of Sharon, Mercer County, received more than $23,300 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Coxson was sentenced to 120 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Kelley M. Culp, 48, of Hermitage, Mercer County, received more than $570,700 in public assistance benefits.  Culp was sentenced to 16-48 months incarceration, 120 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution.
  • Joani L. Harris, 40, of Sharon, Mercer County, formerly of Hermitage, Mercer County, received more than $111,250 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Harris was sentenced to 10 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Charlotte T. Jackson, 39, of Sharon, Mercer County, was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to pay costs.
  • Earnest J. Lawson, III, 25, of Farrell, Mercer County, received more than $6,550 in LIHEAP, SNAP and subsidized child care benefits.  Lawson was sentenced to 60 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Samantha L. Maxwell, 34, of Sharon, Mercer County, received $1,500 in subsidized child care benefits.  Maxwell was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Stacey L. Rasberry, 40, of Hermitage, Mercer County, was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to pay costs. 
  • Tawona J. Thompson, 31, of Sharon, Mercer County, received more than $6,350 in cash assistance, SNAP and subsidized child care benefits.  Thompson was sentenced to 60 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Bashie Williams, 53, of Farrell, Mercer County, received $6,100 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Williams was sentenced to 5 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.

In separate cases, the following individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits during January:

  • Tammy Basham, 34, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $4,400 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Basham was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and fines.
  • Kristine M. Gonzales, 49, of Erie, Erie County, formerly of Lake City, Erie County, received more than $3,200 in SNAP benefits.  Gonzales was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Tina M. Rudy-Stutzman, 47, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $2,200 in SNAP benefits. Rudy-Stutzman was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Dawn R. Spaulding, 40, of Fredonia, Mercer County, received more than $14,100 in SNAP benefits. Spaulding was sentenced to 2 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.

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: Richard S. Delia, 717-787-6835

 

 

 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General



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

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