HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Six Pennsylvania residents pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and/or were sentenced for their crimes during November, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today.
"Those who commit welfare fraud in Pennsylvania are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner said. "We take seriously our mission to protect public assistance programs from fraud and abuse, which helps to ensure eligible individuals can get the help they need."
The following individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:
- Shawn D. Freed, 36, of Belleville, Mifflin County, received more than $1,900 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Freed was sentenced to 12 months probation, 30 hours community service and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
- Jerime D. Hammond, 31, of Lewistown, Mifflin County, and Jamie M. Rodd, 28, of Lewistown, Mifflin County, received more than $1,900 in SNAP benefits. Both were sentenced to 12 months probation, 30 hours community service and were ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
- Melissa L. Hill, 31, of Williamsport, Lycoming County, received more than $3,600 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Hill was sentenced to 2 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
- Eartha L. Holmes, 30, of Allentown, Lehigh County, formerly of Easton, Northampton County, received more than $6,050 in cash assistance benefits. Holmes was sentenced to 60 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
- Valerie J. Woomer, 28, of Altoona, Blair County, formerly of Tyrone, Blair County, received more than $2,650 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Woomer 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