Two of three women convicted for stealing $107,000 in welfare benefits sentenced

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two of three Erie County women who fraudulently took more than $107,000 in welfare benefits while earning more than $500,000 working as aides for an elderly West Seneca woman have been sentenced.

The women failed to report their income to the Erie County Dept. of Social Services. Their income made them ineligible for the public assistance benefits they received.

Suzanne Smith, 50, of Athol Street, Buffalo, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service, three years of probation, and ordered to pay $51,462 in restitution.

Kelly Foss, 44, of Peters Corners Road, Alden, was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay $34,155 in restitution.

The third co-defendant, Michelle Dudek, 30, of Abbott Road, Buffalo, is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

All three admitted to their roles in the crime and pleaded guilty late last year to third degree welfare fraud, a felony. They are all childhood acquaintances.

According to the Office of the New York State Welfare Inspector General, Smith was collecting both food stamp benefits and Medicaid during the time she was employed.  During her employment from 2011 to 2016, Smith received $142,674.18 in income.  Her failure to report this income resulted in her fraudulently receiving $10,953.00 in food stamp benefits as well as $40,509.68 in Medicaid.

Foss was collecting food stamp benefits during the time she was employed.  During her employment from 2011 to 2016, Foss received $307,478.50 in income. Her failure to report this income from employment resulted in her fraudulently receiving $34,155.00 in food stamp benefits.

Dudek was also collecting both food stamp and Medicaid during the time she was employed.  During her employment from 2011 to 2016, Dudek received $82,314.00 in employment income.  Her failure to report this income resulted in her fraudulently receiving $15,865.00 in food stamp benefits as well as $5,751.58 in Medicaid.

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