Rensselaer County – More than a dozen arrested in welfare fraud sweep

TROY, N.Y. — Rensselaer County officials announced a sweeping welfare fraud investigation, which includes charges against 26 people accused of welfare fraud and resulting in the arrest of 19.
The investigation carried out by county, state, and local law enforcement sought to crackdown on what according to Rensselaer County Social Services Commissioner Theresa Beaudoin, is the theft of nearly $56,000 in funds taken from the Rensselaer County Department of Social Services.
The latest roundup and higher percentage in arrests come after an Oct. 2018 sting which netted charges to 39 people, arrests of 27 and the recouping of approximately $100,000 in funds.
“I applaud the efforts of all involved in the crackdown on welfare fraud. My office always stands at the ready to prevent this type of abuse of the system,” Rensselaer County Sheriff Pat Russo said of his ongoing support of county fraud sweeps.
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin stressed the importance of protecting taxpayers and the social safety net system for those who are truly in need of help.
“County services are essential in our communities with the goal to provide a path to a better life to those in need. These arrests prove that in Rensselaer County we are focused on ensuring public monies go to the deserving, not those who seek to abuse the system for their own personal gain,” McLaughlin said.
Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly also echoed the sentiment of Russo and McLaughlin, in maintaining an honest system.
“I want to thank everyone involved for the hard work that was done in exposing these alleged criminal activities. Our office will work closely with all our partners in the county in seeking to eradicate welfare fraud,” Donnelly said.
Those arrested include:
• Roderick Edmunson, 06/17/1973: Troy, NY, charged with first-degree felony offering a false instrument for filing to RCDSS to fraudulently obtain public assistance.
• Katrina Rivera, 09/06/1981: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree felony welfare fraud and fourth-degree felony grand larceny in connecting with the theft of $2,622.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Tiffany R. Franklin, 08/26/1971: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree felony welfare fraud and fourth-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $1,593.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Takeah Harris, 07/12/1983: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree felony welfare fraud, fourth-degree felony grand larceny and first-degree felony offering a false instrument for filing to RCDSS to fraudulently obtain public assistance in connection with the theft of $8,389.52 in medical assistance benefits.
• Tiffany Smith, 08/08/1989: Troy, NY, charged with third-degree welfare fraud, third-degree felony grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing in connection with the theft of $4,066.50 in public assistance benefits.
• Raheem Shabezz, 09/22/1953: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree welfare fraud and fourth-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $2,922.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Lori Emery, 02/25/1967: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree welfare fraud and fourth-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $1,412.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Robert Simpson, 08/31/1970: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree welfare fraud and fourth-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $2,743.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Shameia Hall, 01/13/1992: Troy, NY, charged with first-degree felony offering a false instrument for filing to RCDSS to fraudulently obtain public assistance.
• Mercedes Thomas, 12/12/1991 and Alexander Girgenti, 11/16/1989: Nassau, NY, charged with third-degree welfare fraud and third-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $4,729.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Rebecca Grogan, 06/12/1976: Mechanicville, NY, charged with first-degree felony offering a false instrument for filing to RCDSS to fraudulently obtain public assistance.
• Angeline Dugan, 12/24/1988: Rensselaer, NY, charged with first-degree felony offering a false instrument for filing to RCDSS to fraudulently obtain public assistance.
• Jessica Kelly, 08/04/1987: Troy, NY, charged with fourth-degree felony welfare fraud and fourth-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $2,865.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Steven Williams, 09/03/1971: Troy, NY, charged with misdemeanor misuse of food stamps.
• Andrea Giles, 12/26/1983: Troy, NY, charged with third-degree welfare fraud, third-degree felony grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing in connection with the theft of $5,767.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Laalyce Johnson, 02/26/1978: Troy, NY, charged with first-degree felony offering a false instrument for filing to RCDSS to fraudulently obtain public assistance.
• Catrina Bunting, 02/06/1978: Troy, NY, charged with third-degree welfare fraud and third-degree felony grand larceny in connection with the theft of $3,620.00 in public assistance benefits.
• Alexander Cole: Troy, NY, charged with third-degree welfare fraud, third-degree felony grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

Article Courtesy of Channel 13 News.