Press-Republican

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June 14, 2013

Welfare-fraud sweep in Franklin County

(Continued)

Shawn Dustin, 603 County Road 5, Dickinson Center: Fifth-degree welfare fraud, petit larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, for allegedly receiving $275 in temporary assistance. He was sent to County Jail for lack of $500 bail.

A warrant was also issued for Mary Ellen Farr of Utica, who was charged with two counts of forgery.

AGGRESSIVE APPROACH

A similar sweep in May 2010 netted 10 people for welfare fraud.

“Welfare fraud is a misuse of public funds, and we’re trying to be more aggressive than we have been with these people,” Champagne said.

He said law-enforcement officials try to work with people through Social Services, but arrests will be made if they don’t follow through.

“I have grave concerns that we are simply scratching the surface of the frauds being committed against taxpayers.

“This investigation revealed others who appear to believe social assistance is a way of life and not temporary assistance,” he said.

TAX FRAUD

The investigation also turned up fraudulent tax returns, Champagne said, and he asked residents to report people they suspect are receiving large tax refunds “who clearly never paid taxes.

“Only through a community approach can we stop fraud against all taxpayers,” he said.

He sent information to the U.S. Attorney’s Office about people who claimed self employment, paid no income tax and received large refunds.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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