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07/16/2018

State Inspector General Files Felony Charges Against Police Officer for Welfare Fraud

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General filed felony charges against Minersville Borough Police Officer Ashley L. Michel for fraudulently obtaining $7,254.34 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medical Assistance (MA) benefits.
 
“Our office will maintain the integrity of our public benefits programs with professionalism and impartiality,” said State Inspector General Bruce R. Beemer. “We will act whenever someone who is sworn to uphold the law breaks it.”
 
According to the Criminal Complaint filed by OSIG agents, the Defendant, Ashley L. Michel of Pottsville in Schuylkill County, applied for SNAP and MA benefits on July 3, 2017. In her application, she reported no income. She repeated that she had no income in a phone interview with a caseworker. During that interview, Ms. Michel was advised it was her responsibility to report any change in income and to provide updated and accurate income information. Based on the information she provided, Ms. Michel was approved for SNAP and MA benefits.
 
Investigators learned that, in August of 2017, Ms. Michel was employed by the Minersville Police Department as a part time patrol officer. Ms. Michel did not report that employment or income and accepted $4,303.00 in SNAP benefits and $2,951.34 in MA benefits for the period August 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018.  Her failure to disclose that income is a violation of 62 P.S. §481(a) and that offense is graded as a felony of the third degree.
 
The maximum penalty is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000, plus a mandatory disqualification period from the SNAP program.
The Defendant was arraigned on July 12, 2018 and a preliminary hearing is set for July 25, 2018. The case will be prosecuted by the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s Office.

All persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
 
To report suspected fraud please call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582 or visit the OSIG website at www.osig.pa.gov. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

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