HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — 53 people have been charged in Pennsylvania with public assistance fraud in July, The Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) announced Wednesday.
During July, felony charges of fraudulently receiving public assistance were filed against 51 people while two were charged with misdemeanors. It was alleged that these people misrepresented themselves and their household circumstances to obtain taxpayer-funded public benefits.
The restitution owed to the Commonwealth totals $309,666, OSIG said. Additional cost savings will come as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving benefits.
“The Office of State Inspector General tirelessly maintains the public’s trust in our benefits programs,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “I applaud the fine work of OSIG agents to hold accountable anyone who commits fraud, waste, or abuse of taxpayer money.”
The maximum penalty for public assistance fraud is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000. In the case of SNAP, Cash Assistance, or Subsidized Day Care fraud, defendants also face a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits and programs.
All individuals charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.