Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Announces November 2012 Welfare Fraud Adjudications

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

"We will continue to make certain that people getting benefits, who don't deserve them, will be held accountable for their actions," Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner said. "My office will continue this push to protect the taxpayers' dollars and make sure that benefits go to those who truly deserve them."

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

  • Asia M. Al-Mateen, 37, of Dallastown, York County, received more than $2,700 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Al-Mateen was sentenced to three years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Diane L. Ayala, 43, of Bradford, McKean County, received more than $6,850 in medical assistance transportation benefits. Ayala was sentenced to 45 days to 18 months incarceration, 80 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution. 
  • Deeanna M. Bellman, 24, of Johnsonburg, Elk County, received more than $2,400 in SNAP benefits. Bellman was sentenced to five years probation and was ordered to pay restitution, costs, and fines. 
  • Barbara L. Bower, 32, of Charleroi, Washington County, received more than $1,250 in SNAP benefits. Bower was sentenced to 18 months probation, 50 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Lamonte C. Brandon, 58, of Meadville, Crawford County, received more than $2,250 in SNAP benefits. Brandon was sentenced to one year probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Melissa F. Brown, 29, of Youngsville, Warren County, received more than $3,250 in SNAP benefits. Brown was ordered to pay full restitution and fines. 
  • Sandra M. Chiavaroli, 45, of Wallingford, Delaware County, received more than $3,300 in SNAP benefits. Chiavaroli was sentenced to two years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution. 
  • Wendy L. English, 33, of Clearfield, Clearfield County, received more than $11,150 in cash assistance, medical assistance, and SNAP benefits. English was sentenced to three years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines. 
  • Francisca Espada, 46, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $1,100 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Espada was sentenced to two years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution. 
  • Shelley L. Fitzgerald, 45, of Chester, Delaware County, received more than $3,400 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Fitzgerald was sentenced to three years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and fines. 
  • Anita Goodson, 43, of Norristown, Montgomery County, received more than $1,500 in cash assistance benefits. Goodson was ordered to pay full restitution and costs. 
  • Crissey Lasko, 31, of Somerset, Somerset County, received $500 in SNAP benefits.  Lasko was sentenced to one year probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines. 
  • Tiffany M. McMullen, 37, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $12,000 in SNAP benefits. McMullen was sentenced to six years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution.
  • Trisha M. Rodeffer, 32, of Greencastle, Franklin County, received more than $12,550 in medical assistance and SNAP benefits. Rodeffer was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay full restitution and costs. 
  • Penny A. Stroup, 44, of Titusville, Crawford County, received more than $21,950 in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and SNAP benefits. Stroup was sentenced to 24 days incarceration, two months house arrest, five years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs. 
  • Joy Williams, 29, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $3,800 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Williams was sentenced to five 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: James H. Timko, 717-787-6835

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General



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

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