It’s one thing to lie and steal, but it’s an entirely different (and bad) idea to lie and steal from the government. That’s the reality facing 24 Hudson Valley residents charged with various counts of Welfare Fraud and Grand Larceny as of yesterday morning.
According to Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, who announced the arrests along with County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois and County Executive Steve Neuhaus, two-dozen individuals—from towns including Newburgh, Middletown, and New Windsor—fraudulently secured a collective $242,000 in welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and other assistance benefits.
In a statement, D.A. Hoovler acknowledged being happy with the results yielded by their joint investigation, but remarked that the bust has also hopefully “deterred others from cheating the system. “
The sweep was also part of Hoovler’s public benefits fraud enforcement action, alternately referred to as “Fall Fraud Enforcement,” which the D.A.’s office boasts has thus far brought in 146 defendants on Welfare Fraud who’ve reputedly stolen in excess of $1.5 million (of which less than half a million has been repaid to date).
The counts of Welfare Fraud alone could cost the accused anywhere from 16 months to seven years in prison, prompting Sheriff DuBois to comment to Hudson Valley that those committing similar crimes ask themselves, “You never know when you’re going to get that knock on the door. Is it worth it?”