Jefferson County Woman Accused of Assistance Fraud Due in Court Next Week

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (EYT) – A Jefferson County woman who allegedly failed to report a change in income in order to obtain cash assistance benefits is scheduled to stand for a preliminary hearing next week.

Court documents indicate 35-year-old Elizabeth A. Lee, of Brookville, is scheduled to stand for a preliminary hearing in front of Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 21, on the following charge:

– Fraud Obtain Foodstamps/Assistance, Misdemeanor 2

According to a criminal complaint, a caseworker who was actively administering the case received information through a Department of Human Services information that Elizabeth A. Lee began new employment from August 13, 2018, to December 25, 2018.

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

The complaint states that the OIG investigation discovered that Lee “willfully failed to report this new employment and wages” and she “knowingly withheld this material fact from the Department of Human Services knowing this would negatively affect her eligibility for Cash Assistance (CA) Benefits.”

According to the complaint, Lee acknowledged she was interviewed on February 15, 2018, by the caseworker who explained the Public Assistance Application Rights and Responsibilities Statement. Lee also acknowledged she understood the 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.

Additionally, Lee signed an affidavit to report changes on February 1, 2018. These rights and responsibilities were also reviewed with Lee by a caseworker who will testify that Lee understood them, according to the complaint.

Payroll records reviewed by investigators verify dates of employment and wages for Lee. Also, the payroll administrator will testify to Lee’s payroll records, the complaint states.

Certified MA transcripts verify the amount of benefits received during the overpayment period. Follow-up verified by matching birthdate, Social Security number, etc., that Lee knowingly withheld information from the Department of Human Services in order to fraudulently obtain CA benefits that she was not eligible from August 17, 2018, to December 25, 2018, totaling $1,277.50, the complaint indicates.

Based on the investigation, charges were filed in Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock’s office on January 29, 2019.

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