Nov 6, 2013

What is welfare fraud?

What constitutes welfare fraud? Debra via email

Erie County Job and Family Services executive director Karen Balconi Ghezzi provided the following response:

"Fraud, of any kind, starts with a false representation of a fact, either present or past, that leads another party to rely on that fact(s) to the damage of that party or other parties. Welfare fraud, more specifically, is based on an individual knowingly putting forth false information either to gain a benefit to which they are not entitled and/or to misuse a benefit once it's acquired, such as selling food stamps."

The Mailbag is a daily feature on Each weekday at noon, we will post one question from a reader and answer it. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or email Please include your first name and a location in the email, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."


Julie R.

Isn't that the property (the one that made artificial rocks) that Citizens Bank foreclosed on in 2001 and then years later after the former factory owner died they filed a lawsuit saying his estate should have to pay to have the oil drums removed from the site? Didn't Binette rule in favor of Citizens Bank and their McGookey attorney? Had the 6th District Court of Appeals not ruled against Binette's ruling, you can bet Citizens Bank ~ with the help of their buddies at the courthouse ~ would have taken everything there was to take in that man's estate.

Erie County is so corrupt they even steal from the dead.

"Ohio Bank to Partially Reimburse EPA For Removal Costs Related To Defunct Borrower Facility"

looking around

There are many forms of welfare fraud, but some of the biggest contributors are the ones that vocally oppose it the most. Case in point I knew of a pub owner that sat as far to the right as possible, he often expounded on his hatred of unions, minimum wage requirements, things he deemed governmental restrictions on his form of doing business which often included questionable accounting practices to avoid paying taxes and of course welfare.

He was the first to complain about people coming into his establishment that he deemed were "leaches on society" but still sold them liquor. He often bought items "cheap" from them even that he suspected the goods were stolen.

One known practice of fraud is for those on food stamps to purchase good cuts of beef and the like then selling them to obtain cash for purchases not allowed under the guidelines of assistance. You guessed it he had a freezer full of meat, then would gladly sell them lottery tickets and alcohol with the funds he provided buying their bounty. Often he would resell his treasure to customers further increasing his ill gotten profit. Many of his best customers were like minded people that complained of the very things that they were contributing to.

As far as I concerned it is just as bad as buying the food stamps directly.

He is just one of many examples and his suppliers as well. Remember it takes more than one to create and support this type of fraud.

Julie R.

Fraud is the name of the game in Erie County. It's not only attorneys that are having a field day (thanks to their cronies at the Erie County courthouse) financial institutions are having a real field day, too. Especially on the elderly.