AFRICANGLOBE – Thirteen people were recently arrested for defrauding the Department of Social Services out of more than $104,000, which is considered the largest welfare fraud sweep in the county’s history. All of those arrested were reportedly white and not a single Black person was involved.
“Here in St. Lawrence County, our welfare benefits provide vital support to genuinely needy families at great cost to honest hard working taxpayers. Those individuals who gain benefits through deception are stealing medicine, groceries, and other necessary provisions from innocent children, vulnerable seniors, working citizens, and others in need,” District Attorney Gary Pasqua said in a statement.
Thirteen people, with ages ranging from 25 to 51, are facing charges of welfare fraud after failing to accurately report income information. Some were also charged with offering a false instrument for filing. They reportedly received Public Assistance Benefits ranging from more than $1,300 to $31,000.
Four other arrests are pending.
The investigation on the case was conducted by the St. Lawrence County Social Services Fraud Unit, the District Attorney Fraud Investigator, and the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, the Ogdensburg Police Department, the Massena Police Department, the Gouverneur Police Department, and other agencies.
Sherriff Kevin Wells stated that he “is proud of the professionalism and participation of the Sheriff’s Department in carrying out this operation, which is critical to deterring abuse of the taxpayers and ensuring that these critical resources go to those in need.”
The DA is encouraging those who knew incidents of fraud to report it to http://www.otda.ny.gov/resources/welfarefraud/