Punxsy Woman Faces Felony Charges for Food Stamp Fraud

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (EYT) – A Punxsutawney woman is being charged with felony fraud after allegedly failing to report a significant change in household income to the Department of Human Services.

Court documents indicate the Pennslyvania State Office of Inspector General filed criminal charges against 28-year-old Kayla Marie Blystone, of Punxsutawney.

According to a criminal complaint, the caseworker who was actively administering Kayla Marie Blystone’s case received information through a Department of Human Services information system and request for employment information that Blystone’s husband had became employed and was earning wages from December 2, 2016, and onward.

A referral was made to the PA Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate for fraud.

The OIG investigation revealed the following information:

– Kayla M. Blystone willfully failed to report this employment increasing in hours and overtime resulting in dramatically higher wages to the Department of Human Services knowing this would negatively affect her eligibility for Public Assistance Benefits.

The complaint states that Kayla M. Blystone signed a Public Assistance Application Rights and Responsibilities Statement on November 3, 2016, acknowledging she understood her rights and responsibility to report changes, by the tenth of the month following the month of change, to the Department of Human Services, and that all information reported is true and correct under penalty of law. These rights and responsibilities were also reviewed with Blystone by caseworkers that will testify the defendant understood them.

Payroll records verify dates of employment and wages for Blystone’s husband. Also, the payroll administrator will testify to the payroll records for Blystone’s wages from December 2, 2016 to August 11, 2017.

According to the criminal complaint, Certified Supplemental Nutrition Assistance transcripts (SNAP) and Medical Assistance (MA) transcripts verify the amount of benefits received during the overpayment period. Follow-up information verified by matching birthdate and Social Security number that Kayla M. Blystone knowingly withheld information from the Department of Human Services in order to fraudulently obtain $1,132.00 in SNAP Benefits and $2,969.32 in MA benefits totaling $4,101.32 that she was not eligible for from December 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Based on the investigation, the following charge was filed on Friday, April 14, in Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock’s office:

– Fraud, Obtain Food Stamps/Assistance, Felony 3

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 3, with Judge Mizerock presiding.

A certified summons was issued to Blystone.

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