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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Commissioner of Social Services Carol Dankert-Maurer announced that 25 individuals were convicted in 2012 in cases involving Social Services’ program fraud. Fraud was detected, prosecuted, and convictions obtained in the Temporary Assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, and Daycare programs.

“Defrauding programs meant to assist individuals and families in need is unconscionable and unacceptable, and we will root out fraud and abuse like this. Let those who would consider defrauding the public know that if you try to, you will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Poloncarz. “I would like to thank the Department of Social Services’ Special Investigations Division and their allies in Frank Sedita’s office for their close attention and cooperation in identifying and prosecuting these cases. Their hard work has resulted in a victory for residents and especially for the people who truly need these programs.”

Commissioner Dankert-Maurer said, “The Erie County Social Services Department values the partnership with the District Attorney’s office as we work to ensure that only truly needy individuals in our community receive benefits to which they are entitled, and that there are consequences for those who access benefits inappropriately.”

The total amount owed for the 25 convictions is $288,860.30. Fraud amounting to $64,383.23 was detected in the Temporary Assistance program; Medicaid fraud amounted to $30,841.18; fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program amounted to $149,210; fraud detected in the Daycare program amounted to $44,425.89. Individuals convicted of fraud will reimburse Erie County for the amount they are responsible for.