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03/02/2020

State Inspector General Charges 44 With Welfare Fraud in January 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) filed welfare fraud charges against 44 individuals during the month of January 2020. The restitution owed the Commonwealth in these cases totals $143,372. Additional cost savings will be realized as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits in the programs they allegedly defrauded.

“We must protect the integrity of Pennsylvania’s public assistance programs,” said Acting State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “I am proud of OSIG’s investigators who help safeguard Governor Wolf’s investment in services to vulnerable populations.”

The OSIG filed thirty-one (31) cases of fraudulently receiving public assistance that were graded as felonies of the third degree. The defendants are:

  • Sayed K. Karimi, of Erie in Erie County, for $6,056 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamp) fraud and $6,630 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Crystal R. O'Connor, of Hershey in Dauphin County, for $11,946 in SNAP fraud.
  • Natalie E. Gray, of Willow Street in Lancaster County, for $7,834 in Cash Assistance fraud and $3,494 in SNAP fraud.
  • Jenny L. Davis, of Newville in Cumberland County, for $8,691 in SNAP fraud.
  • Kurt E. Von Colln, of Altoona in Blair County, for $8,429 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Sandro Garcia and Angela Suastegui, of Norristown in Montgomery County, for $2,165 in SNAP fraud and $3,948 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Emily Cummings, of Carlisle in Cumberland County, for $1,644 in SNAP fraud and $4,028 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Neil F. Weatherwalk, of Altoona in Blair County, for $5,102 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Yuberka C. Bonilla, of Hazleton in Luzerne County, for $4,220 in SNAP fraud.
  • Maura P. Amman, of Stroudsburg in Monroe County, for $4,133 in SNAP fraud.
  • Elizabeth L. Farnum, of Akron in Lancaster County, for $3,661 in SNAP fraud.
  • Tiffany A. Hizer, of Finleyville in Washington County, for $3,488 in SNAP fraud.
  • Takina Maxwell, of Tobyhanna in Monroe County, for $3,349 in SNAP fraud.
  • Steve Marelia, of Warminster in Bucks County, for $3,328 in SNAP fraud.
  • Melissa R. Biddle, of New Providence in Lancaster County, for $3,204 in SNAP fraud.
  • Erika L. Anthony, of Distant in Armstrong County, for $1,060 in SNAP fraud and $2,107 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Jeannette F. Rodgers, of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, for $2,204 in SNAP fraud.
  • Precious Eaddy, of Lansdowne in Delaware County, for $576 in SNAP fraud and $1,440 in Medical Assistance fraud.
  • Amber L. Joy, of Minersville in Schuylkill County, for $1,994 in SNAP fraud.
  • Donald Clark, of Rochester in Beaver County, for $1,945 in SNAP fraud.
  • Sandra Dabbs, of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, for $1,932 in SNAP fraud.
  • Gary L. Mitchell, of Coraopolis in Allegheny County, for $1,867 in SNAP fraud.
  • Kira A. Cornejo, of Johnstown in Cambria County, for $1,816 in Cash Assistance fraud.
  • Elina Haplyk, of Feasterville-Trevose in Bucks County, for $1,684 in SNAP fraud.
  • Anaiya M. Burnham, of North Wales in Montgomery County, for $1,614 in SNAP fraud.
  • Milagros Perez, of York in York County, for $1,555 in SNAP fraud.
  • Michelle N. Wallick, of York in York County, for $1,552 in SNAP fraud.
  • Marianela Nunez, of Hazleton in Schuylkill County, for $1,232 in SNAP fraud.
  • Luis R. Aquino, of West Hazleton in Luzerne County, for $1,152 in SNAP fraud.
  • Gary Hall, of Reading in Berks County, for $1,036 in SNAP fraud.

If convicted, the maximum penalty they face is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000, plus, in the case of SNAP, Cash Assistance, or Subsidized Day Care fraud, a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they allegedly defrauded.

In addition, the OSIG filed thirteen (13) separate misdemeanor charges of public benefits fraud.

All persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anonymously report suspected welfare fraud on the OSIG website or call the Welfare Fraud Tipline: 1-800-932-0582.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan P. Hendrickson - 717-265-8396

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