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8/4/2014

McKean County Woman Receives Prison Sentence For Welfare Fraud

News for Immediate Release

Aug. 4, 2014

Harrisburg – Tammy L. Grove, 45, of Bradford, McKean County, was ordered incarcerated at the McKean County Prison by President Judge John H. Pavlock after pleading guilty to felony welfare fraud charges.  Grove illegally received cash assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in excess of $6,750.

Judge Pavlock sentenced Grove to a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of one year, 11 months, 15 days incarceration, and 23 and one-half months concurrent probation.  In addition, Grove received 250 hours community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  Grove was disqualified from receiving cash benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.  

The following 14 individuals were also recently prosecuted for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today:

  • Sharon M. Atkinson, 34, of Verona, Allegheny County, received more than $1,950 in SNAP benefits.  Atkinson pleaded guilty, was sentenced to one year probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Beth A. Banks, 53, of South Heights, Beaver County, received more than $1,250 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Banks pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to two years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Ethel Blair, 49, of Duquesne, Allegheny County, received more than $1,950 in SNAP benefits.  Blair pleaded guilty, was sentenced to one year probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months. 

Blair was also convicted of welfare fraud in 2010.  At that time she was sentenced to two years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

  • Charlotte Bowers, 54, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $7,300 in SNAP benefits.  Bowers pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Miriam L. Burgos, 52, of Lancaster, Lancaster County, received more than $3,200 in SNAP benefits.  Burgos pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Anabell DeAlba, 30, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $27,950 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Banks pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to seven years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Tiffany L. Ellmaker, 32, of Lebanon, Lebanon County, received more than $2,600 in SNAP benefits.  Ellmaker pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 24 months probation, 15 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Melissa A. Gerard, 34, of Venango, Crawford County, received more than $21,200 in SNAP benefits.  Gerard pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five years probation, two months house arrest with electronic monitoring, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Wendy M. Gordon, 57, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $9,900 in SNAP benefits.  Gordon pleaded guilty, was sentenced to four years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Alisha L. Lindsey, 32, of Union City, Crawford County, received more than $1,750 in SNAP benefits.  Lindsey pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years probation, two months house arrest with electronic monitoring, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Melissa Martinez, 37, of Reading, Berks County, received more than $46,150 in Subsidized Day Care (SDC) benefits.  Martinez pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  She was disqualified from receiving SDC benefits for a period of six months.
  • Meko Sanders, 36, of Erie, Erie County, received more than $2,650 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits.  Sanders pleaded nolo contendere, was sentenced to two years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Brad A. Vanmale, 33, of Beaverdale, Cambria County, received more than $3,100 in SNAP benefits.  Vanmale pleaded guilty, was sentenced to one year probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines.  He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.
  • Leslie N. Waters, 37, of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, received more than $700 in SNAP benefits.  Waters pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 10 months probation, 20 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees.  She was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

The Office of Inspector General’s Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution is responsible for investigating welfare fraud and conducting collection activities for programs administered by, or contracted through, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). 

The Office of Inspector General works with DPW’s county assistance offices statewide to identify suspected cases of public assistance fraud and with local district attorneys to bring the cases to prosecution. 

Those found guilty of welfare fraud could face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, fines up to $15,000, mandatory restitution, and program disqualification.

The Office of Inspector General also relies on tips from concerned citizens. To report suspected fraud, call the Welfare Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582. Callers may remain anonymous.

Visit the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General online at www.oig.state.pa.us.

Media contact: James H. Timko, 717-787-6835

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