13 arrested in record welfare fraud sweep

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It’s being called the largest welfare fraud sweep in St. Lawrence County history.

District Attorney Gary Pasqua announced Friday that 13 people were arrested for defrauding the Department of Social Services out of more than $104,000, according to WWNY TV. 

Four other arrests are pending.

“Here in St. Lawrence County, our welfare benefits provide vital support to genuinely needy families at great cost to honest hard working taxpayers. Those individuals who gain benefits through deception are stealing medicine, groceries, and other necessary provisions from innocent children, vulnerable seniors, working citizens, and others in need,” said Pasqua in a prepared statement.

The following people were arrested:

– Georgeanna L. Aldous, age 47 Lisbon, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on a charge of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $1,312.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Kandy L. Butler, age 29 Ogdensburg, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on a charge of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $3,906.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Brandi David, age 41 Ogdensburg, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on a charge of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $2,046.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Ashley Debiew, age 25, Massena, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on a charge of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $1,852.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Cara E. Dimon, age 25, Massena, arrested on June 14, 2019 on a charge of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $1,739.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Jessica Driscoll, age 29, Ogdensburg, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felonies. The defendant is alleged to have received $3,789.80 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Crystal L. Lalone, age 39, Ogdensburg, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felonies. The defendant is alleged to have received $10,654.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Amber Morrill, age 35, Russell, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $5,108.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Kerry M. Pelo, age 36, Newtown Falls, arrested on June 14, 2019 on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony and one count of Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor. The defendant is alleged to have received $1,560.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Star L. Perrin, age 39, Massena, arrested on June 14, 2019 on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felonies. The defendant is alleged to have received $31,573.94 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Lynn A. Ryan, age 46, Winthrop, arrested on June 14, 2019 on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felonies. The defendant is alleged to have received $15,894.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Sherri A. Scott, age 51, Heuvelton, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on charges of Welfare Fraud. The defendant is alleged to have received $1,380.50 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

– Nancy G. Sherman, age 27, Richville, arraigned on June 14, 2019 in Canton Town Court on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony. The defendant is alleged to have received $5,844.00 in Public Assistance Benefits she was not entitled to receive after failing to accurately report income information.

All cases were the result of investigations conducted by the St. Lawrence County Social Services Fraud Unit, the District Attorney Fraud Investigator, and the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, the Ogdensburg Police Department, the Massena Police Department, the Gouverneur Police Department, and other agencies.

Sherriff Kevin Wells stated that he “is proud of the professionalism and participation of the Sheriff’s Department in carrying out this operation, which is critical to deterring abuse of the taxpayers and ensuring that these critical resources go to those in need.”

The DA noted that citizens may anonymously report incidents of fraud in St. Lawrence County.

To report possible fraud, call 315-379-2145 or go to www.otda.ny.gov/resources/welfarefraud/ to complete the ‘Report Welfare Fraud Online’ form.

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