Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe and Commissioner of Social Services Susan Sherwood today announced the arrests and filing of criminal complaints against three individuals for stealing more than $18,000 from, and for falsifying applications submitted to, the Rockland County Department of Social Services for the receipt of child care subsidies.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “These defendants took advantage of the public assistance system by stealing money intended to help individuals and young families struggling in this economic downturn.”
“The ongoing professional collaboration between the County’s Department of Social Services and the Rockland County District Attorney has resulted in the detection of fraud in several Medicaid and other important social safety-net programs,” said Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. “As a result of their diligence, swift and certain prosecution has dealt a severe blow to offenders in this case,” said Vanderhoef.
“There are limited dollars for child care subsidies,” said Commissioner Sherwood. “Every dollar spent on fraud means one less dollar that can go to a growing number of low-income working families.”
According to the criminal charges, the three defendants – who range in age from 23 to 41 – allegedly falsified applications submitted to the Rockland County Department of Social Services between 2007 and 2011, making it possible for each to receive child care subsidies.
The defendants are charged with Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class “D” Felony. If convicted, the defendants each face up to two years in state prison.
The three defendants are:
124 S. MAIN STREET, APT 1C
SPRING VALLEY, NEW YORK 10977
She allegedly took $7,679.41 for which she was not entitled to.
67 EWING AVENUE, APT C-27
SPRING VALLEY, NEW YORK 10977
She allegedly took $6,547.68 for which she was not entitled to.
34 HILLTOP DRIVE
MONROE, NEW YORK 10950
She allegedly took $3,943.68 for which she was not entitled to.
Each of the defendants has been arraigned, released on their own recognizance and are due back in court on June 12, 2012.
Said Zugibe, “These individuals not only cheated the system, but also law-abiding taxpayers who play by the rules. I want to thank the Department of Social Services for their partnership in this joint effort. We will continue to aggressively pursue these types of criminal investigations.”
Today’s arrests come as a result of a one-year, $60,000 Child Care Fraud Prevention and Detection Incentive Program Grant from the New York State Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS).
Child care fraud may exist when an applicant for, or recipient of, child care services deliberately provides the County Department of Social Services with false or incomplete information or omits information on such data as household composition, household income, the need for child care services, address, etc. to receive or retain child care services to which they are not legally entitled to receive.
Child care fraud may also exist when a provider of child care services deliberately falsifies or alters attendance records to mark a child present who is not and bills the Department of Social Services for services not rendered; shares child care subsidy monies with the recipient; and/or charges the Department of Social Services more when caring for a child whose family receives a child care subsidy than the provider charges members of the general public.
Approximately $9.5 million will be spent on child care subsidies for fiscal year 2012 in Rockland from federal, state and local funding sources. As of December, 2011, there were 816 families receiving subsidies for 1,669 children and approximately 1,000 eligible families on a waiting list. The waiting list affects income-eligible families earning less than 200% of the poverty level but earning too much to receive Temporary Assistance.