Three charged with welfare fraud

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  • Sara Joyce




  • Velvet Davis




  • Camara Chatham-Rodriquez



— Three Pike County residents have been charged with defrauding the Department of Public Welfare, Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin announced on Aug. 8.

A joint investigation of the Pike County Detective Bureau and Agents from the Office of Inspector General lead to their arrests on Aug. 7.

Each received cash assistance and payments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to Tonkin. A total of $16,608 was obtained through fraud, he said.

He said the three residents do not appear to be connected in any way.

Velvet W. Davis of Greentown, 35, was charged with one count of false statements in public assistance, a felony. She is charged with fraudulently obtaining $7,896 in cash assistance benefits and $5,737 in SNAP benefits. If convicted, she will face up to seven years in prison, mandatory restitution, and disqualification from receiving cash assistance benefits for six months and SNAP benefits for 12 months.

Sara Joyce of Lackawaxen, 39, was charged with one count of false statements in public assistance, a misdemeanor. She is charged with fraudulently obtaining $1,019 in SNAP benefits. If convicted, she will face up to two years in prison, mandatory restitution, and disqualification from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

Camara Chatham-Rodriquez, Bushkill, 37, was charged with one count of false statements in public assistance, a misdemeanor. She is charged with fraudulently obtaining $1,956 in SNAP benefits. If convicted, she will face up to five years in prison, mandatory restitution and disqualification from receiving SNAP benefits for 12 months.

Tonkin credited the Claims Investigation Agent from the Office of Inspector General for documenting the fraud and detectives for following up. "I hope that these arrests will deter others from attempting to defraud the public welfare system," he said.

Tonkin urged anyone with information regarding possible welfare fraud to call the Office of Inspector General welfare Fraud tip line at 1-800-932-0582, or to visit http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/wheredotaxdollarsgo/welfarefraudtipline/index.htm.

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