Thursday, November 16, 2017
Monticello, NY – The Sullivan County Welfare Fraud Task Force today announced multiple new arrests in an ongoing effort to root out waste and abuse of the County’s Social Services system.
The Task Force incorporates resources from the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Special Investigations Unit at Family Services. The primary goals are to obtain restitution and deter future instances of fraud.
The Task Force is focused on cases in public assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps), Home Energy Assistance (HEAP), daycare and child support. Some cases investigated by the Task Force may not amount to criminal conduct but may still be administrative violations, such as overpayments to recipients.
In addition to reorganizing the fraud unit into a Task Force, Health & Family Services Commissioner Joseph Todora has introduced a 24-hour confidential tips line so that the public can report suspected incidents of fraud and abuse: 845-513-2392. This number is listed on a variety of posters that will be distributed around Sullivan County.
“As a percentage of the total business that we do in Social Services, there’s really very little fraud that goes on,” Todora explained today, noting honest mistakes will be treated as such. “But if it’s intentional fraud, we’re going to prosecute.”
The following arrests were announced today:
• October 17, 2017 – Kandiss L. Siegert, 31, of Liberty was arrested and charged with the Class D Felony of Welfare Fraud 3rd and Class E Felony of Offering a False Instrument for Filing 1st. It is alleged that Siegert stole $4,174.22 in Public Assistance Benefits. Siegert was arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and was released pending a future court date.
• October 30, 2017 – Juanita Dennison, 54, of South Fallsburg was arrested and charged with the Class E Felony of Welfare Fraud 4th and Class E Felony of Offering a False Instrument for Filing 1st. It is alleged that Dennison stole $1,345 in Public Assistance Benefits. Dennison was released on an appearance ticket pending her appearance in Town of Liberty Court.
• November 6, 2017 – Scott E. Burger, 37, of Eldred was arrested and charged with the Class A Misdemeanor of Non Support of a Child 2nd. It is alleged that Burger owes $39,616.84 in unpaid child support. Burger was arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail on $250 bail. This arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the Sullivan County Child Support Unit and Sullivan County Fraud Task Force.
• November 9, 2017 – Danielle Ladd, 38, of Liberty was arrested and charged with the Class C Felony of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 1st and the Class B Misdemeanor of Attempted Welfare Fraud 5th. Ladd was arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and released pending a future court date.
• 25 arrests have taken place
• 23 of these arrests were for program violations and fraud
• 2 arrests were made of individuals on parole due to violations
• More than $87,100 in fraud charges have been brought, and already more than 15% of that amount has been repaid
• 5 arrests on child support warrants have taken place, seeking payment of more than $215,000 in back child support
• Over 70 open cases currently under investigation/review
“Stopping fraud is a critically important piece of providing services to the people of Sullivan County. By protecting our resources from being wasted or abused by those who are not entitled to them we can ensure people who truly need assistance will get it,” said Legislature Vice Chair and Health & Family Services Committee Chair Nadia Rajsz.
“From the topmost levels of County government, we are serious about identifying, investigating, prosecuting and preventing fraud,” added County Manager Josh Potosek. “To be successful in that effort requires many hands, which is why we’ve entered into this multi-agency partnership to create the Sullivan County Welfare Fraud Task Force.”
“We’re seeking out restitution when appropriate, we’re seeking out arrests when appropriate, and when appropriate, we’re seeking restitution AND arrests,” explained Sheriff Michael Schiff. “I’m glad that all parties at the County level are taking responsibility for the County and State taxpayers’ money and making sure the people who need those funds get them and the people who abuse the system get what they deserve.”
“We need to make sure we are open for business, but we are not open for fraud. Fraud will not be tolerated in Sullivan County,” said District Attorney James Farrell. “Our government taxpayer dollars need to spent appropriately, and with this task force, that’s our goal.”
Sullivan County Health & Family Services Commissioner Joe Todora speaks about the County's Welfare Fraud Task Force, including posters advertising its new tips line.