PA says 90 people charged with public assistance fraud in April and May

24 June 2024- The Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) filed public assistance fraud charges against 90 individuals in April and May of 2024. The restitution owed to the Commonwealth in these cases totals $716,496. Additional cost savings will be realized because the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits in the programs they allegedly defrauded.

“Upholding the integrity of our public assistance programs is essential for maintaining public confidence, and OSIG is dedicated to ensuring these resources are protected and used as intended,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “Our team’s diligent efforts are crucial in identifying and prosecuting those who seek to defraud these vital services.”

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 April and May 2024, OSIG filed felony charges of defrauding the public assistance system against a total of 85 individuals and misdemeanor charges against five separate individuals. It is alleged that these individuals either trafficked their public assistance or 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.