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Rensselaer County DSS Welfare Fraud

RENSSELAER COUNTY, N.Y. — An investigation by Rensselaer County Department of Social Services and other police agencies has resulted in the arrests of 13 individuals for welfare fraud, with an additional person still being sought on fraud charges, County Executive Steve McLaughlin announced.
The Rensselaer County Department of Social Services Special Investigations Unit, in cooperation with the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department, City of Troy Police Department Detective Bureau and the City of Rensselaer Police Department conducted a joint investigation that commenced in November 2019 and culminated in a warrant sweep on Monday, December 9, 2019.
This joint investigation resulted in a total of 14 individuals being accused of a total of 29 separate criminal charges.

All are accused of allegedly defrauding various public assistance programs administered by the Rensselaer County Department of Social Services in an amount totaling in excess of $47,000.
All of those arrested were arraigned in Troy Police Court and released pending adjournment to a later date.
“Rensselaer County is committed to working to erase fraud from our system, and to protect the resources entrusted to us by our taxpayers to provide assistance only for those entitled to help,” McLaughlin said. “We have made stopping fraud and abuse in the welfare system a priority and welcome the results of this investigation.
“We appreciate that investigators from county DSS were able to work effectively with law enforcement from throughout the county in making these arrests.”
“My department will continue to make stopping welfare fraud a priority and will work closely with county DSS and other agencies in this effort. Taxpayers cannot afford fraud and abuse, and we are doing our part to fight back,” Rensselaer County Sheriff Pat Russo said.
“As Commissioner of Rensselaer County Department of Social Services, I am fully committed to ensuring that public assistance funds and program resources are managed properly and are only utilized by those who are lawfully qualified to receive public benefits,” DSS Commissioner Theresa A. Beaudoin added.
Those arrested and their respective charges are as follows:
Heather Beeler, 49 years of age, Rensselaer NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $2502.50 in Public Assistance and SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Evony Howard, 37 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1852.50 in Public Assistance and SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Karen Lee, 54 years of age, Rensselaer NY, , is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1728.00 in SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Alma Joy, 42 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $2180.00 in Public Assistance and SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Jane Luther, 50 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $2116.00 in SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Rosa Molina, 55 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1030.00 in Public Assistance and SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Amanda Johnson, 33 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1790.00 in Public Assistance.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Johnathan Gratto, 33 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1027.00 in Public Assistance.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
Sandra Sawyer, 60 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $8916.00 in Public Assistance.
• Welfare fraud in the third degree, a class D felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.15
• Grand Larceny in the third degree, a class D felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.35
Tina Colarutolo, 56 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $4566.60 in Public Assistance and SNAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the third degree, a class D felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.15
• Grand Larceny in the third degree, a class D felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.35
Melissa Baker, 32 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $505.00 in SNAP benefits.
• Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.25
• Welfare fraud in the fifth degree, a class A misdemeanor, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.05
Michelle Bell, 53 years of age, Troy NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1356.00 in HEAP benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
• Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §175.35
Danny Gilmore, 21 years of age, Albany NY, is a Daycare vendor alleged to have fraudulently obtained $8409.30 in Daycare payments.
• Welfare fraud in the third degree, a class D felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.15
• Grand Larceny in the third degree, a class D felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.35
The following individual is wanted and is currently at large:
Shamel Chambers, 37 years of age, Albany NY, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained $1898.50 in Daycare benefits.
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §158.10
• Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law §155.30
To report fraud or abuse of public assistance programs in Rensselaer County please call the hotline 833-DSSTIPS or email DSSTIPS@rensco.com

2019 Regional Training in Terrytown

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SID Collabortation Leads to Prosecution of Welfare Fraud in Erie County

The Erie County Department of Social Services credits its Special Investigations Division for effectively collaborating in an investigation that led to the prosecution of an individual who committed welfare fraud in Erie County.
Special Investigator Paul Wasch and Assistant Special Investigator Paul Dusza completed a cohabitation case investigation that resulted in a guilty plea by Stephanie Jurek, a recipient of Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Erie County. Jurek was prosecuted by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and pled guilty to Welfare Fraud in the fourth degree, which is a felony. Jurek was found to have concealed the presence of the father of her children in her household.
The over-payment in this case totaled $32,653.72, an amount roughly split between Medicaid and SNAP. ECDSS thanks the work of its SID staff for their diligent work in identifying and helping to prosecute welfare fraud in Erie County.