DISTRICT ATTORNEY HUBBARD ANNOUNCES CONVICTION AND RESTITUTION RECOVERY IN WELFARE FRAUD CASE
Delaware County District Attorney John Hubbard today announced the in-hand recovery of Public Assistance Benefits in the amount of $19,851.89, as part of a defendant’s conviction and sentence in the Delhi Town Court.
Shannan Williams was charged in the Town of Delhi Court with four felony offenses, one count of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, and three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing. The felony complaints alleged that while Shannan Williams resided in Gulfport, Mississippi, she was using a fake Sidney address to illegally apply for public assistance benefits in Delaware County, NY. The felony complaints alleged she filed annual public assistance applications from 2014 through 2020. In each of these applications she used a false Sidney address to obtain public benefits. As a result of these false filings, she received $19,851.89 in fraudulent public assistance benefits over those years.
This prosecution was the result of a lengthy investigation conducted by the Delaware County Department of Social Services Fraud Investigation Unit. The Fraud Investigator referred the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution after she determined that Shannan Williams was falsely claiming to reside in Delaware County. The investigation included obtaining Ms. Williams’ banking records from Mississippi, which showed that the monthly public assistance benefits were being spent in the State of Mississippi, a copy of her apartment lease in Gulfport and a statement from her landlord, which indicated that she resided in Gulfport. As a condition of the plea, once restitution was paid in full, the Court imposed a conditional discharge which requires Ms. Williams to avoid any other violation of the law for a period of one year, and pay a fine.
District Attorney Hubbard stated, “Our County has a limited amount of resources and it is important that those funds are directed towards helping our residents- especially during these difficult times. When an out of state resident fraudulently collects benefits from our County, it depletes the resources available to Delaware County residents.”
“We will continue to prosecute this fraudulent activity, in an effort to ensure that money isn’t diverted from programs designed to help the genuinely needy,” District Attorney Hubbard stated.
“This was a difficult case because the defendant, and our necessary witnesses, were located over a thousand miles away. Thanks to the thorough investigation by the Department of Social Services Fraud Unit, we were able to secure the necessary evidence in order to obtain the restitution our County was owed,” Hubbard said.