Welfare fraud in Franklin County - Press-Republican: Local News

Welfare fraud in Franklin County

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Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 5:05 pm

A Franklin County sweep netted more than a dozen individuals accused of welfare fraud.

Social Services officials say people who cheat the system can prevent an individual or family who truly needs assistance from accessing it.

MORE ARRESTS

Law-enforcement officials said further arrests are pending.

"Any individuals who have agreed to make payments and have failed to do so are strongly urged to make payments immediately, as all outstanding cases are currently being reviewed for potential criminal charges," a press release from Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne's office states.

"Presently approximately 100 cases are scheduled to be reviewed."

FRAUD BUST

On Thursday, Franklin County officers swept the area for individuals accused of frauds, thefts and false-instrument filings with Franklin County Department of Social Services Programs.

A total of 15 local residents were arrested by Malone Village Police, Saranac Lake Village Police, Tupper Lake Village Police, Franklin County Sheriff's Department and New York State Police.

Law-enforcement officials advised that individuals should be aware of their reporting requirements and comply.

"DSS programs are meant to help and assist, not become a way of life or a system to cheat and abuse for one's personal gain," said Champagne.

"Allegations such as these hurt those who genuinely deserve assistance by attaching the stigma that the entire system is plagued by fraud."

TOUGH TIMES

Franklin County Department of Social Services Commissioner Lesley B. Lyon stressed that it is vital his office diligently investigate possible welfare fraud for the use of all services, especially Medicaid, food stamps, public assistance and day care.

It is difficult to find employment in today's economy, which means an increasing number of people depend on public benefits to feed themselves and their families and to provide medications for those who are ill, he said.

"For every person who fraudulently obtains such benefits, it jeopardizes the ability of the country to provide for those who are really in need."

County taxpayers should not foot the bill for people who take advantage of the system, he said, especially when taxpayers themselves area barely getting by.

"I commend the fraud staff at Department of Social Services, the District Attorney's Office and law-enforcement personnel for their joint efforts to crack down on some of the worst offenders committing welfare fraud in Franklin County."

CHARGED

Some of those arrested were sent to Franklin County Jail on bail or bond, and all will reappear in court at a later date to face the allegations. The ages of those charged were not released Friday.

The people arrested and their charges were:

▶ Shane Allen of Malone: fifth-degree welfare fraud and petit larceny.

▶ Melissa Conklin of Malone: third-degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and third-degree grand larceny.

▶ Lorraine Delmonte of Brushton: third-degree welfare fraud and third-degree grand larceny.

▶ Kristi Drabick of Tupper Lake: third-degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps and third-degree grand larceny.

▶ Susan Hawkins of Constable: third-degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps, two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and third-degree grand larceny.

▶ Gloria Lamica of Malone: third-degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps, two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and third-degree grand larceny.

▶ Roger Lamore Jr. of North Lawrence: fourth-degree welfare fraud and fourth-degree grand larceny.

▶ Timothy Lane Jr. of Dickinson Center: fifth-degree welfare fraud and three counts of offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Jill Mitchell of Dickinson Center: fifth-degree welfare fraud and three counts of offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Thomas Mulverhill of Malone: fifth-degree welfare fraud, petit larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Phillip Perry Jr. of Malone: fourth-degree welfare fraud, fourth-degree grand larceny, misuse of food stamps and offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Ralph Robert of Saranac Lake: welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps, petit larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Kenneth Smith of Malone: fourth-degree welfare fraud, fourth-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Desiree St. Amand of Saranac Lake: welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps, petit larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

▶ Michael Warner of Saranac Lake: fourth-degree welfare fraud and fourth-degree grand larceny.

Email Stephen Bartlett at: sbartlett@pressrepublican.com