PLATTSBURGH — Fourteen Clinton County residents are charged with defrauding the state to the tune of more than $105,000.
“In terms of money, I believe this is one of the biggest welfare fraud sweeps in the history of the tri-county area,” said Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Jason Marx, who will be prosecuting the cases with Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie.
A 15th suspect had not yet been taken into custody as of Friday; the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department made the arrests.
“Here in the North County, such benefits provide vital support to sincerely needy families and at a great cost to hard-working taxpayers,” Wylie said in a press release.
“Those who cheat these programs are stealing food, medicine and other necessary benefits from children, seniors, working citizens and others in need.”
John Redden, commissioner of the Clinton County Department of Social Services, said the department’s Fraud Unit “will continue to work with the District Attorney’s Office to crack down on people who commit welfare fraud.”
Clinton County Legislature Chair James Langley spoke to the government’s scant financial resources, saying, “(When) resources are being stretched to the limit, it’s critical that those who commit welfare fraud and abuse taxpayer dollars are held accountable for their unlawful and dishonest actions.”
Assisting the DA’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department in the investigation and apprehension of those charged were the Clinton County Social Services Fraud Unit, the Social Service Resource Unit and the Medicaid Unit.
All charges are felonies. Those arrested were arraigned in Plattsburgh City Court or Plattsburgh Town Court between Nov. 16 and 27. Those not sent to the Clinton County Jail were released as part of the Pre-Trial Release Program.
Chandra K. Barrett, 35, of Peru was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny for allegedly receiving $2,011 in public assistance benefits after failing to accurately report her income. Barrett was released from the Clinton County Jail after posting $4,400 bail bond, according to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department. She is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial conference Dec. 5. Barrett’s attorney is Allan Cruikshank.