I am sure you have heard the expression: “Two is a party; three is a crowd.” While it may be easier to find seats at a popular restaurant for a party of two on Friday night, a crowd of 18 fraudsters heading to jail makes quite the party for a state working hard to combat welfare fraud, according to a WeAreCentralPA.com article.
Want to commit welfare fraud in Dauphin County, Penn.? You might want to rethink that. The county recently announced that 18 fraudsters pleaded guilty or were sentenced for welfare fraud crimes in the month of January alone. Their collective take? A total of $101,000. Efforts like these are putting the state on the map for proactively protecting money meant for those who deserve it. (It’s great to see states have a large break-through in fraud convictions – Way to go Pennsylvania!)Investigators and prosecutors involved in the welfare fraud crackdown dealt with scams from medical and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) theft, cash assistance benefits theft, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and childcare benefit fraud. (With such a variety of ways these individuals can defraud welfare assistance programs; it shows the effort PA has put into investigating each different “path” of theft a fraudster can take.)
A representative from the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution commented on the crackdown saying: “Only citizens who honestly qualify for benefits should receive them.” (You would think people would have the decency to allow these programs to function in their respective intended manners, but I guess fraudsters are a little bankrupt in the decency column.) The state has relied on the OIG’s team to find and stop these scams from continuing. Pennsylvania also is taking steps to educate the citizens about the consequences of committing welfare fraud, noting that if convicted, an individual could face a maximum of seven years in prison, fines up to $15,000, mandatory restitution and program disqualification. (Okay, that last part should be a no-brainer.)The sentencing of these 18 fraudsters should serve as lesson to those who are, “committing acts of misrepresentation.” (Misrepresent yourself in welfare fraud and you can be sure you will be represented as a fraudster when you enter the jail.)
States face a large battle against the world of fraud whether combating welfare fraud or any other of the plethora of fraud scams. When efforts such as those represented by Pennsylvania come to fruition, the satisfaction of such achievements in the war against fraud is needed fuel to continue the fight.