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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mercer County Welfare Fraud Scheme Netted $750,000. In Benefits

Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Announces January 2012 Welfare Fraud Adjudications, Including Mercer County Fraud Ring

HARRISBURG-- Fifteen Pennsylvania residents pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and/or were sentenced for their crimes during January, including 11 current and former Mercer County residents who schemed to fraudulently claim more than $750,000 in benefits, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today.

"These filings and adjudications should send a strong message to all the citizens of Pennsylvania," Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner said. "We will not tolerate welfare fraud and are working hard to eradicate it."

The following 11 individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits. Their fraud scheme netted more than $750,000 for the co-defendants who obtained public assistance, SNAP, child care and other benefits illegally:

  • Katrina Y. Cain, 38, of Farrell, Mercer County, received more than $14,200 in SNAP and subsidized child care benefits. Cain was sentenced to 18 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Elizabeth E. Carnathan, 30, of Youngstown, Ohio, formerly of Farrell, Mercer County, received more than $14,350 in cash assistance, SNAP, and subsidized child care benefits. Carnathan was sentenced to 10 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Felicia M. Coxson, 42, of Gainesville, Florida, formerly of Sharon, Mercer County, received more than $23,300 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Coxson was sentenced to 120 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Kelley M. Culp, 48, of Hermitage, Mercer County, received more than $570,700 in public assistance benefits. Culp was sentenced to 16-48 months incarceration, 120 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution.
  • Joani L. Harris, 40, of Sharon, Mercer County, formerly of Hermitage, Mercer County, received more than $111,250 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Harris was sentenced to 10 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Charlotte T. Jackson, 39, of Sharon, Mercer County, was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to pay costs.
  • Earnest J. Lawson, III, 25, of Farrell, Mercer County, received more than $6,550 in LIHEAP, SNAP and subsidized child care benefits. Lawson was sentenced to 60 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Samantha L. Maxwell, 34, of Sharon, Mercer County, received $1,500 in subsidized child care benefits. Maxwell was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Stacey L. Rasberry, 40, of Hermitage, Mercer County, was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to pay costs.
  • Tawona J. Thompson, 31, of Sharon, Mercer County, received more than $6,350 in cash assistance, SNAP and subsidized child care benefits. Thompson was sentenced to 60 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Bashie Williams, 53, of Farrell, Mercer County, received $6,100 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Williams was sentenced to 5 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.

In separate cases, the following individuals were prosecuted and sentenced for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits during January:

  • Tammy Basham, 34, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $4,400 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Basham was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and fines.
  • Kristine M. Gonzales, 49, of Erie, Erie County, formerly of Lake City, Erie County, received more than $3,200 in SNAP benefits. Gonzales was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.
  • Tina M. Rudy-Stutzman, 47, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $2,200 in SNAP benefits. Rudy-Stutzman was sentenced to 36 months probation and was ordered to pay full restitution, costs, and fines.
  • Dawn R. Spaulding, 40, of Fredonia, Mercer County, received more than $14,100 in SNAP benefits. Spaulding was sentenced to 2 years probation and was ordered to pay full restitution and costs.

The Office of Inspector General's Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution is responsible for investigating welfare fraud and conducting collection activities for programs administered by, or contracted through, the Department of Public Welfare.

The Office of Inspector General works with county assistance offices statewide to identify suspected cases of public assistance fraud and with local district attorneys to bring the cases to prosecution.

Anyone found guilty of welfare fraud could face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, fines up to $15,000, mandatory restitution, and program disqualification.

The Office of Inspector General also relies on tips from concerned citizens. To report suspected fraud, call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582. Callers may remain anonymous.

Visit the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General online at www.oig.state.pa.us.

12 comments :

Show Me The Money said...

If they can't repay the money while they are alive, then it should be MANDATORY that their spouse (or bed-buddy), or kids pay the money back.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they go to J A I L ?

Anonymous said...

And there are 100's more like them out there. Guess who foots the bill?

Anonymous said...

Also lets not forget there are people still on the street that lost and or scammed people out of billions of dollars! Go after their asses to!

Anonymous said...

Kelley Kulp rec'd $570,700...that's more than 1/2 million dollars....How the heck did that happen????

Anonymous said...

8:01 maybe it was stimulus money?

Anonymous said...

3:07 SERIOUSLY????? Hold a child responsible (maybe a two year old) for their parents ignorance??? I SERIOUSLY hope that you didn't reproduce.

Anonymous said...

These people don't even work. That's how they got the cash in the first place. I don't want to see them in jail where we are STILL paying to keep and feed them! Put them to work cleaning the highways, doing recycling, sweeping streets or collecting trash!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
3:07 SERIOUSLY????? Hold a child responsible (maybe a two year old) for their parents ignorance??? I SERIOUSLY hope that you didn't reproduce.

Friday, February 17, 2012 3:28:00 AM EST


IF, and I mean IF they had any compassion for their own offspring they wouldn't lie, steal and cheat the taxpayers. So I too agree, make the children pay. Unless YOU want too.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, people like this actually believe this is how they make their living. They teach this to their children who know nothing else and expect to live on these handouts as well. Then there are folks like us who work hard every day, pay our income and real estate taxes, and barely have anything left for food or heat.
Then these same folks are entitled to the Federal Income Tax EIC and receive thousands of dollars while you and I pay in and pay in, rarely qualifying for a refund.
These are the same folks that you see in the salons having false nails applied and wearing wild hair styles and colors. They, as well as their children wear high-end clothing; they have the latest cell phones. How many of us can afford this?
I once heard from an abused wife with a young child who had to leave the abusive situation suddenly or die, that she applied for food stamps and was advised that she needed to learn how to make bread and was denied food stamps. This was a woman who was embarrassed to even ask for help.
So, thank you for finding these thieves.

Anonymous said...

This makes me furious. I want to know who is responsible for this. Is it the case worker, aren't they supposed to investigate each client? These people need to pay back every cent of this money. If we put them in jail we will have to pay for that also. If they are in jail give them jobs and take every cent of the paycheck to repay this to the working people who once again get a huge slap in the face. And also the governor needs to have his head checked. He is going to give more money to the welfare system but take away from education. What the H---! He is just an enabler to these kind of people because working people who need a little help can't get it. I know lots of people who make 100.00to much to get any help and they are struggling to keep there heads above water and they are working everyday. Once again the honest working person gets the dirty end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

In todays world good guys finish last! People that need help don't get it people that don't need it get rich from it!