Delaware County – January 23, 2019
By Lillian Browne
DELHI – As part of a negotiated plea and sentence deal, a Roxbury man pled guilty to welfare fraud in Delaware County Court on Jan. 14, in exchange for a probation sentence and $59,000 in restitution to be paid to the Delaware County Department of Social Services (DSS).
Anthony N. Bellissimo, 62, admitted to submitting an application to the Delaware County Department of Social Services that contained falsified information in order to obtain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits (SNAP) – also known as food stamps – HEAP (heating assistance) and Medicaid (medical insurance benefits), low income eligible social programs.
Following a lengthy investigation, DSS investigators discovered that Bellissimo has received income that he failed to report on the application from “working off the books.”
As part of the negotiated plea and sentence deal, six other felony charges, including multiple charges of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and several other third-degree welfare fraud charges, will be dismissed at sentencing and Bellissimo’s wife will be spared prosecution for the same charges.
Bellissimo will also pay restitution of $59,000 at sentencing, scheduled for March 11.
Of the case, District Attorney John Hubbard said, “Our local taxpayers are the ones that suffer when money is wrongfully obtained from public assistance programs. I am committed to protecting taxpayers’ dollars and my office will continue to prosecute these type of cases to the fullest extent.”