15 September 2023- The Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) filed public assistance fraud charges against 53 individuals during July 2023. The restitution owed to the Commonwealth in these cases totals $309,666. Additional cost savings will be realized as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits in the programs they allegedly defrauded.
“The Office of State Inspector General tirelessly maintains the public’s trust in our benefits programs,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “I applaud the fine work of OSIG agents to hold accountable anyone who commits fraud, waste, or abuse of taxpayer money.”
OSIG investigates and prosecutes public assistance fraud and conducts collection activities for the public benefits programs administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).
During July 2023, OSIG filed felony charges of fraudulently receiving public assistance against a total of 51 individuals and misdemeanor charges against two separate individuals. It is alleged that these individuals misrepresented their household circumstances and fraudulently received taxpayer-funded public benefits to which they were not entitled.
If convicted, the maximum penalty defendants face for public assistance fraud is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000. In the case of SNAP, Cash Assistance, or Subsidized Day Care fraud, defendants also face a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they allegedly defrauded.
All persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
OSIG works in close coordination with DHS, which administers Pennsylvania’s public assistance programs, to investigate referrals made by DHS for potential fraud or abuse of programs. Referrals come through concerns flagged through applications and questionable use of benefits observed by DHS or from tips made by the public. Anonymously report suspected welfare fraud on the OSIG website or call the Welfare Fraud Tipline: 1-800-932-0582.