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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Three charged with Welfare Fraud by Pike County investigators

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  • MILFORD - Three women from Pike County have been arrested for allegedly making false statements to the Department of Public Welfare to obtain benefits to which they were not entitled.
         Arrested on Thursday, August 7, were: Velvet W. Davis, Greentown, age 35; Sara Joyce, Lackawaxen, age 39 and Camara Chatham-Rodriquez, Bushkill, age 37.
       Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin said that the accused appear to have acted separately and were not connected in any way. Each was charged with defrauding the Department of Public Welfare. The total amount of money allegedly taken by fraud was $16,608.   
         The investigation of each individual surrounded the receipt of welfare in the form of cash assistance and payments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 
       Charges filed are as follows:
        Davis was charged with one count of False Statements in Public Assistance, a felony.  Davis is charged with fraudulently obtaining $7,896.00 in cash assistance benefits and $5,737.00 SNAP benefits. If convicted, Davis will face up to seven years in prison, mandatory restitution and disqualification from receiving cash assistance benefits for six months, and SNAP benefits for 12 months.
       Joyce was charged with one count of False Statements in Public Assistance, a misdemeanor.  Joyce is charged with fraudulently obtaining $1,019.00 in SNAP benefits. If convicted, Joyce will face up to two years in prison, mandatory restitution and disqualification from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.
       Chatham-Rodriquez was charged with one count of False Statements in Public Assistance, a misdemeanor.  Rodriquez is charged with fraudulently obtaining $1,956.00 in SNAP benefits. If convicted, Rodriquez will face up to five years in prison, mandatory restitution and disqualification from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.
      The arrests were a result of a joint probe between investigators from the Pike County Detective Bureau and agents from the Office of Inspector General.
         District Attorney Tonkin was pleased with the results of the joint investigation. Tonkin stated: “The Claims Investigation Agent from the Office of Inspector General presented well documented information that these individuals obtained payments they were not entitled to, and the detectives were able to follow up on that information and file the fraud charges. I hope that these arrests will deter others from attempting to defraud the public welfare system.”
         Tonkin urged anyone with information regarding possible welfare fraud to call the Office of Inspector General welfare Fraud tip line at 1-800-932-0582.  Person with information may also visit the website: http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/wheredotaxdollarsgo/welfarefraudtipline/index.htm

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