05 July 2023- The Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) filed felony public assistance fraud charges against 52 individuals during May 2023. The restitution owed to the Commonwealth in these cases totals $347,497. Additional cost savings will be realized as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits in the programs they allegedly defrauded.
“It is imperative that we fulfill our duty to the citizens of Pennsylvania by ensuring the proper allocation of public benefits,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “We are fortunate to partner with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to uphold the integrity of these programs and preserve the public’s confidence in assistance programs.”
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).
It is alleged that these individuals misrepresented themselves 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.