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June 25, 2024

Fraud charges filed against 90 by Pa. Inspector General for public benefits misuse

The office filed defrauding charges against 85 and misdemeanor against five for misrepresenting their household need.

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Public Benefits fraud SNAP daycare Bill Oxford/Unsplash

The State Inspector General charged nearly 100 people with defrauding public benefits like subsidized daycare and SNAP, reportedly misrepresenting their household circumstances and trafficking their benefits.

Nearly 100 Pennsylvanians are being accused of defrauding government benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or cash assistance. 

The Pennsylvania Office of the State Inspector General filed felony charges for public assistance fraud against 85 individuals and misdemeanors against five more. In total, the office said the state is owed $716,496 in restitution from these cases. 

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The Inspector General's office said that these 90 residents either misrepresented their household income and circumstances to receive benefits they weren't entitled to or selling their public assistance. 

“Upholding the integrity of our public assistance programs is essential for maintaining public confidence, and OSIG is dedicated to ensuring these resources are protected and used as intended,” said PA Inspector General Lucas Miller in a statement. “Our team’s diligent efforts are crucial in identifying and prosecuting those who seek to defraud these vital services.”

If convicted, the 90 defendants face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Those who committed fraud for SNAP, cash assistance or subsidized day care also will be temporarily disqualified from receiving those benefits. 

The Inspector General's Office works in tandem with the state's Department of Human Services, which reports benefits fraud for investigation. 

Earlier this month, CBS Philadelphia reported that families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware found their SNAP benefit accounts drained after they were stolen through skimming devices. SNAP cards don't have a chip, making them less secure. The U.S. Secret Service is currently investigating.