Southport woman arrested for welfare fraud


SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) – Christina Jones, 49, was arrested by the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office after a welfare fraud investigation conducted by the Department of Social Services Special Investigation Unit.

According to the Sheriff’s office, Jones allegedly submitted false information to the Chemung County Department of Social Services twice regarding her income.

Jones received $1,644 in public assistance that the Sheriff’s office says she was not entitled to.

Jones has been charged with two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. She was released on an appearance ticket and will be arraigned by the Elmira City Court in March.

The Department of Social Services Special Investigation Unit is a collaborative effort
between the Chemung County Department of Social Services, the Chemung County Sheriff’s
Office and the Elmira Police Department responsible for protecting and maintaining the integrity
of Social Services subsidy programs.

Sisters charged with welfare fraud, received $25K in daycare subsidies

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Two sisters have been charged after a welfare fraud investigation that alleges they received over $25,000 in daycare subsidy benefits and forged documents.

According to the Elmira Police Department, Christy Lott allegedly received $25,449.53 in daycare subsidy benefits that she was not eligible to receive due to failure to correctly report billable daycare hours.

During the investigation, police say her sister and daycare provider, Cheyenne Cross, “falsely compiled daycare time sheets and cashed subsequent checks from the Chemung County DSS on behalf of Christy.”

Lott was arrested on Nov. 11, 2020, on an active Elmira City Court arrest warrant for Welfare Fraud 3rd Degree, Grand Larceny 3rd Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing 1st Degree.

Cross was arrested on an active Elmira City Court arrest warrant for Grand Larceny 3rd Degree on Jan. 29, 2021.

DSS Employee Falsely Obtained Benefits For Family Members

SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY — A Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS) employee was arrested on Tuesday for falsely obtaining benefits for her family members, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini.

Paola Masi, 30, of Patchogue, has worked as a social services examiner since 2013 and is responsible for looking at applications and determining if the applicant is eligible for benefits, according to the DA.

In 2018 and 2019, she allegedly used her position to manipulate the system in order to falsely qualify her mother, father and grandmother for benefits, including food stamps, the DA stated. Her scheme resulted in her receiving $5,000 in benefits for family members that they were not entitled to, according to Sini.

Masi deleted electronic notices that would have alerted other DSS employees that her mother and father earned income during the time they were applying for benefits, the DA said. She also falsely certifying her grandmother’s eligibility for SNAP benefits before the certification process began., the DA said.

She was charged with third-degree corrupting the government, third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny, public corruption, third-degree welfare fraud, fourth-degree welfare fraud, and first-degree tampering with public records, according to the DA.

Masi’s father, 62-year-old Luis Bustamante, of Brentwood, was also charged in connection with the alleged scheme, the DA said.

He was charged with third-degree corrupting the government, fourth-degree grand larceny, public corruption, and fourth-degree welfare fraud, according to Sini

“This individual allegedly used her position of trust and her knowledge of the system to steal more than $5,000 from Suffolk County taxpayers that was meant for families truly in need,” Sini said. “This kind of scheme goes directly against our duties as public servants. I commend the members of my office’s Public Integrity Bureau for their vigilance in protecting taxpayers.”