Ten Welfare Fraud Offenders Sentenced in Counties Across Pennsylvania - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Ten Welfare Fraud Offenders Sentenced in Counties Across Pennsylvania

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 59-year-old Margaret Peoples, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, was sentenced by Judge Kelly Bigley to 18 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution after pleading guilty to misdemeanor welfare fraud charges. 

Peoples illegally received in excess of $3,150 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from June through December 2012.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months.

Peoples was previously convicted of welfare fraud in 2000 for illegally receiving in excess of $2,200 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits from October 1997 through March 1998.  After Peoples' guilty plea, she was sentenced to six months probation, and ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

Zulma E. Santiago, 48, of Lancaster, Lancaster County, was sentenced by Judge Joseph C. Madenspacher to five years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, fees, and fines after pleading guilty to felony welfare fraud charges. 

Santiago illegally received in excess of $11,250 in SNAP benefits from February 2010 through May 2011.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months. 

This conviction follows a 2000 welfare fraud conviction when Santiago pleaded guilty to illegally receiving more than $1,250 in SNAP benefits for the period December 1997 through April 1998.  Judge David L. Ashworth sentenced Santiago to 24 months probation and ordered Santiago to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

The following eight individuals were also recently prosecuted for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:

  • Davina J. Bedingfield, 23, of Dover, York County, participated in food stamp trafficking by illegally purchasing an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card containing $200 in SNAP benefits from Morris McCullough, 72, also of York.  Bedingfield pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months.
  • Doretha Devaughn, 55, of Lansdale, Montgomery County, received $4,100 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Devaughn pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 36 months probation, and was ordered to maintain full-time employment, pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Michael Garnett, 50, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $17,750 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Garnett pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Candy L. Jackson, 38, of Kane, McKean County, received more than $8,250 in medical assistance and SNAP benefits.  Jackson pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 23 ½ months probation, 300 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Dwayne Mussomele, 44, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, received more than $1,800 in SNAP benefits.  Mussomele pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fees.  He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Aida F. Price, 54, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $1,700 in SNAP benefits.  Price pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Medina L. Souders, 48, of McConnellsburg, Fulton County, received more than $1,750 in medical assistance and SNAP benefits.  Souders pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Geneva Womack, 56, of Darby, Delaware County, received $1,900 in SNAP benefits.  Womack pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 months probation, 32 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

The Office of Inspector General's Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution is responsible for investigating welfare fraud and conducting collection activities for programs administered by, or contracted through, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). 

The Office of Inspector General works with DPW's county assistance offices statewide to identify suspected cases of public assistance fraud and with local district attorneys to bring the cases to prosecution. 

Those found guilty of welfare fraud could face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, fines up to $15,000, mandatory restitution, and program disqualification.

The Office of Inspector General also relies on tips from concerned citizens. To report suspected fraud, call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582. Callers may remain anonymous.

Visit the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General online at www.oig.state.pa.us.

Media contact: James H. Timko, 717-787-6835

©2012 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

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