Sixteen Pennsylvania residents pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and/or were sentenced for their crimes during July, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today.
“The Office of Inspector General is committed to combating fraud, waste and abuse for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians,’’ Inspector General Michael A. Sprow said. “It is our mission to protect these public resources in order to help those who are truly eligible.’’
The following individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:
·Danielle L. Beck, 27, and Jason L. Hazen, 34, of Conneaut Lake, Crawford County, received more than $3,000 in SNAP benefits. Beck and Hazen were sentenced to one month house arrest, three years probation, plus community service, and they were ordered to pay restitution and fines. Beck and Hazen were also disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for one year.
·Allieshea Y. Gambill, 24, of Erie, Erie County, received more than $6,450 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Gambill was sentenced to five years probation and was ordered to pay restitution and costs. She was also disqualified from receiving cash assistance for six months and SNAP benefits for one year.
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 (DPW).
The Office of Inspector General works with DPW’s county assistance offices statewide to identify suspected cases of public assistance fraud and with local district attorneys to bring the cases to prosecution.
Those 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.
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