Office of Inspector General Announces February Welfare Fraud Adjudications

Mar 31, 2011, 10:31 ET from Office Of Inspector General

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner today released the following recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) welfare fraud case adjudications. The defendants pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and/or were sentenced for their crimes during February.

"Those who willfully defraud the public benefit programs will eventually be caught and punished accordingly.  Part of that punishment includes restoring the taxpayers' money by being ordered to pay full restitution," Inspector General Faulkner said. "These adjudications are examples of the important work the Office of Inspector General does for the taxpayers and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking about trying to cheat the system."

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

  • Anita L. Arthurs, 32, of Mt. Jewett, McKean County, received more than $6,200 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.  Arthurs was sentenced to 23-and-a-half months probation and 80 hours of community service and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Manessta L. Beverly, 32, of San Joaquin, Calif., formerly of Reading, Berks County, received more than $5,600 in subsidized child care. Beverly was sentenced to three years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Dori L. Erb, 42, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $3,650 in SNAP benefits.  Erb was sentenced to four years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Nicole A. Grake, 36, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received more than $1,200 in cash assistance. Grake was sentenced to 12 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Randy D. Granberry, 35, of Erie, Erie County, received more than $6,300 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Granberry was sentenced to nine to 24 months incarceration and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Linette A. Hall, 36, of Ridgway, Elk County, received more than $3,350 in SNAP benefits. Hall was sentenced to seven years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Scott E. Hicks-Homan, 31, of Lewistown, Mifflin County, received more than $1,400 in cash assistance.  Hicks-Homan was sentenced to 12 months probation and 30 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Debra D. Jiles, 47, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $59,100 in cash assistance, SNAP benefits, medical assistance, and LIHEAP.  Jiles was sentenced to three to 12 months of house arrest and five years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Christine M. Kennedy, 38, and David J. Kennedy, 30, both of Ridgway, Elk County, received more than $5,800 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Both were sentenced to seven years probation and were ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • April M. Luktisch, 27, of Meadville, Crawford County, received more than $13,700 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Luktisch was sentenced to eight to 24 months incarceration and five years probation and was ordered to pay costs and fines and to pay restitution with her codefendant.
  • Stephanie A. Overholts, 36, of Lake City, Erie County, received more than $20,600 in cash assistance, SNAP benefits, special allowances, and LIHEAP.  Overholts was sentenced to 48 months probation, 50 hours of community service and was ordered to pay full restitution.
  • Tina M. Parson, 38, of Lewistown, Mifflin County, received more than $650 in SNAP benefits.  Parson was sentenced to 12 months probation and 30 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Jeffrey A. Penfield, Jr., 29, of Wilcox, Elk County, received more than $5,300 in cash assistance.  Penfield was sentenced to seven years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Ralph E. Steele, III, 27, of Conneaut Lake, Crawford County, received more than $10,250 in SNAP benefits and special allowances.  Steele was sentenced to 26 days incarceration, three months of house arrest, and 60 months probation and was ordered to pay costs and to pay restitution with his codefendants.
  • Nikki Stum, 29, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, formerly of Duncannon, Perry County, received more than $900 in cash assistance.  Stum was sentenced to 12 months 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.  

Each year, 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 citizens. Anyone with information on suspected fraud should call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582.

For more information about Pennsylvania's Office of Inspector General, visit www.oig.state.pa.us.

Media contact: Amy L. Butler, 717-787-6835

SOURCE Office Of Inspector General



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