15 accused of cheating the welfare system in Niagara County

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LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – Over the last month, 15 residents of Niagara County have been arrested on charges of defrauding the welfare system.

Investigators with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Welfare Fraud Unit and Niagara County Department of Social Services have charged the following:

  • Melinda Hunt of Niagara Falls – accused of firth degree welfare fraud and misuse of food stamps
  • Erik Johnson of Niagara Falls – accused of fourth degree grand larceny, fourth degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • David Watts, Sr. of Newfane – accused of filing a false written statement and obstruction of governmental administration
  • Kayla Wittcop of Niagara Falls – accused of fourth degree grand larceny and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Tyrone Jones of Niagara Falls – accused of fourth degree grand larceny, fourth degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Shawn Kennedy of Niagara Falls – accused of misuse of food stamps
  • Crystal Pike of North Tonawanda – accused of fourth degree grand larceny, fourth degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Samantha Horne of Niagara Falls – accused of fourth degree grand larceny, fourth degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Justin Wittcop of Gasport – accused of third degree grand larceny, third degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Alanna Rogers of Buffalo – accused of third degree grand larceny and third degree welfare fraud
  • Brian Moreland of Olcott – accused of first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Sabrina Kratz of Niagara Falls – accused of attempted petit larceny, fifth degree attempted welfare fraud, and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Jennifer Sieck of Niagara Falls – accused of third degree grand larceny, third degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Sheri Jackson of Ransomville – accused of third degree grand larceny, third degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing

In all, authorities say these suspects received more than $28,000 in benefits they were not entitled to.

Sheriff James Voutour said, “The cost of welfare in Niagara County continues to be a massive burden for our taxpayers. There is no room for fraud and the sheriff’s office will continue to arrest and prosecute those who intend to cheat the system.”

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