Welfare Fraud offenders sentenced

Welfare Fraud offenders sentenced

The Office of the Inspector General also provided evidence against two repeat offenders.
HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY – The Office of the Inspector General Wednesday announced the recent prosecution of more than 20 people for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits, including two repeat offenders.

Christian V. Farrington, 38, of Coraopolis, Allegheny County, was sentenced by Judge Thomas Flaherty to 18 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and court costs after pleading nolo contendere to misdemeanor welfare fraud charges.  Farrington illegally received in excess of $2,650 in cash assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from November 9, 2011 to August 31, 2012.  He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

Farrington was previously prosecuted for welfare fraud in 2010 for illegally receiving in excess of $1,250 in cash assistance benefits from October 6, 2008 to April 8, 2009.  After Farrington’s guilty plea, Judge Thomas Flaherty sentenced Farrington to 12 months probation, and ordered Farrington to pay full restitution.

Juan Roldan Ortiz, 38, of Lebanon, Lebanon County, was sentenced by Judge Margaret C. Miller (Lancaster County) to 36 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, fees, and fines after pleading guilty to misdemeanor welfare fraud charges.  Ortiz illegally received $3,200 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits from August 5, 2011 to July 8, 2012.  He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of 12 months and SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months. 

This conviction follows a 2006 welfare fraud conviction when Ortiz pleaded guilty to illegally receiving more than $2,300 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits for the period April 2005 through December 2005.  Lancaster County Judge Dennis E. Reinaker sentenced Ortiz to 36 months probation and ordered Ortiz to pay full restitution, costs, fees, and fines.  He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months, and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
 
The following 21 individuals were also recently prosecuted for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:
  • Asia M. Allen, 30, of McKeesport, Allegheny County, received more than $40,750 in Subsidized Child Care (SCC).  Allen pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay full restitution.  She was disqualified from receiving SCC benefits for a period of six months.
  • Melinda A. Bradley, 49, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received $2,450 in SNAP benefits.  Bradley pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Derek R. Calloway, 39, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received more than $1,400 in SNAP benefits.  Calloway pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Sara K. Chaney, 31, of Columbia, Lancaster County, received more than $2,450 in SNAP benefits.  Chaney pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay full restitution and court costs.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Kim R. Cherry, 55, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received more than $4,600 in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and SNAP benefits.  Cherry pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Valerie A. Clark, 38, of Altoona, Blair County, received $1,050 in SNAP benefits.  Clark pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Mary E. DeHaven, 43, of Ephrata, Lancaster County, received more than $700 in SNAP benefits.  DeHaven pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay full restitution and court costs.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Eric Dixon, 48, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $2,350 in SNAP benefits.  Dixon pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Jody L. Duet, 32, of Antes Fort, Lycoming County, received more than $9,650 in medical assistance and SNAP benefits.  Duet pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 months probation, 50 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Evelyn D. Malave, 29, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $6,800 in SNAP benefits.  Malave pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months. 
  • Tina Martin, 54, of Ambridge, Beaver County, received more than $14,350 in SNAP benefits.  Martin pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Sandy Masferrer, 42, of Easton, Northampton County, received more than $3,500 in SNAP benefits.  Masferrer pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Patrick McFadden, 44, of Paradise, Lancaster County, received more than $5,450 in SNAP benefits.  McFadden pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Ebonee McLaughlin, 38, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received more than $5,450 in SNAP benefits.  McLaughlin pleaded guilty, was sentenced to four years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Arthur T. Miller, Jr., 66, and Mary B. Miller, 50, both of Jamestown, Crawford County, received more than $2,150 in SNAP benefits.  The Millers pleaded guilty, were sentenced to five years probation, and were ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  They were disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Jarrett S. O’Neal, 37, of McKees Rocks, Allegheny County, received more than $2,800 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  O’Neal pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months, and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Jennette L. Rupp, 25, of Butler, Butler County, received $1,000 in Special Allowance SNAP benefits.  Rupp pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, 50 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines. 
  • Connie Shipwash, 52, of Easton, Northampton County, received more than $2,950 in cash assistance benefits.  Shipwash pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months.
  • Ann M. Stefnoski, 37, of Erie, Erie County, received more than $3,650 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Stefnoski pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 36 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months, and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Tamara A. Threet (Hawkins), 37, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received more than $3,550 in SNAP benefits.  Threet (Hawkins) pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
“There is no tolerance for individuals who deliberately cheat the welfare system,” Inspector General Michael A. Sprow said.  “The Office of Inspector General works with all district attorneys in the commonwealth to eliminate welfare fraud through vigorous prosecution, helping to preserve taxpayer dollars for the truly needy."
 
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.

From the Office of Inspector General
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