Clearfield County Woman Receives Prison Sentence for Welfare Fraud

crime-newsHARRISBURG, Pa. – According to court documents, a 28-year-old Clearfield County woman received a prison sentence for welfare fraud.

Court documents state 28-year-old Shierlee A. Abrams, formerly Shierlee Webster, of North Cambria, Cambria County, formerly of Clearfield County, was ordered incarcerated at the Clearfield County Correctional Facility by Judge Paul E. Cherry after pleading guilty to misdemeanor welfare fraud charges.

Abrams illegally received SNAP benefits in excess of $1,750.00.

Judge Cherry sentenced Abrams to 15 days to one year incarceration, one year probation, 100 hours of community service, and ordered her to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines. Abrams was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

A Crawford County man also received a prison sentence for welfare fraud.

Records indicate James D. McBeth, of Meadville, Crawford County, was ordered incarcerated at the Crawford County Correctional Facility by Judge John F. Spataro after pleading guilty to misdemeanor welfare fraud charges.

McBeth illegally received cash assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits in excess of $2,950.

Judge Spataro sentenced McBeth to seven days to one month incarceration. In addition, McBeth received 59 months probation, was ordered to participate in community service, and pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines. McBeth was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months, and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

The following 18 individuals were also recently prosecuted for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits:

Anthony Brown, 54, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, formerly of Delaware County, received more than $1,850 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Brown pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees. He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months, and SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

Travis J. Cunning, 37, of New Brighton, Beaver County, received more than $3,400 in SNAP and medical assistance benefits. Cunning pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three years 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.

Troy E. Duncan, 45, of York, York County, received more than $2,700 in cash assistance benefits. Duncan pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees. He was disqualified from receiving cash assistance benefits for a period of six months.

Lastacia M. Griffith, 27, of York, York County, received more than $2,900 in cash assistance benefits. Griffith pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three 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.

Beatrix M. Henderson, 43, of Freemansburg, Northampton County, received more than $2,200 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Henderson pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five 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.

Norma Marrero, 33, of Lancaster, Lancaster County, received more than $2,500 in SNAP benefits. Marrero pleaded guilty, was sentenced to one year probation, 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.

Bethany J. Martell, 23, of Clearfield, Clearfield County, received more than $1,750 in SNAP benefits. Martell pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years probation, 100 hours of community service, 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.

Morris McCullough, 72, of York, York County, participated in food stamp trafficking by illegally selling an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card containing $200 in SNAP benefits. McCullough pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees. He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months.

William E. McKim, 53, of York, York County, received more than $1,600 in SNAP benefits. McKim pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years probation, 150 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees. He was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 24 months. This is McKim’s second conviction for fraudulently receiving public assistance benefits. He was convicted in 1997 for illegally obtaining SNAP benefits, and was disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of three years. A third conviction would result in McKim being permanently disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits.

Trish M. Mortorff, 29, of Delta, York County, received more than $2,500 in SNAP benefits. Mortorff 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.

Michael E. Mowery, Sr., 40, and Christina A. Mowery, 41, both of Altoona, Blair County, received more than $10,500 in SNAP benefits. Michael and Christina pleaded guilty and were each sentenced by Judge Wade A. Kagarise to five years probation, 25 hours community service, ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, fees, and fines. They were also disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of 12 months.

Mark D. Palmer, Jr., 27, of Uniontown, Fayette County, received more than $1,200 in SNAP benefits. Palmer pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years 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.

Amanda L. Pascarella, 28, of Uniontown, Fayette County, received more than $1,200 in SNAP benefits. Pascarella pleaded guilty, was sentenced to six months probation, 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.

Shannon Rouse, 39, of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, received more than $15,150 in Subsidized Day Care (SDC) benefits. Rouse pleaded guilty, was sentenced by Judge Anthony D. Scanlon to five years probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, court costs, and fees. She was disqualified from receiving SDC benefits for a period of six months.

Dana L. Simko, 44, of Coulters, Allegheny County, received more than $3,550 in SNAP benefits. Simko 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.

Megan E. Trice, 36, of Williamsport, Lycoming County, received more than $2,650 in SNAP benefits. Trice pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 months probation, 25 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.

Jennifer A. Wakeling, 57, of York, York County, received more than $1,250 in SNAP benefits. Wakeling 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.

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.


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