Welfare is a state funded program that is available for Americans in need. This system was created by President Roosevelt during the great depression. The purpose of welfare is to provide temporary reprieve for out-of-work people. However, some people view welfare as means to earn a living. Some of these individuals commit welfare fraud because of this belief.
A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania resident by the name of Sabrina Strothers was found guilty of welfare fraud. Strothers is a 23-year-old woman. She carried out one of the biggest welfare fraud cases in the history of Pennsylvania. She managed to swindle the state of Pennsylvania for about $130,000 in benefits. She received $36,269 in food stamps, $90,000 for medical expenses and received TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) payments totaling $2,000. How did Strothers get away with defrauding the Pennsylvania welfare system? Strothers started this process by pretending to have 3 children. She filled out her assistance application stating that she had triplets named Tomalyia, Tyreik and Thomas Wilson. The kids were not real.
Ms. Strothers was able to falsify her kids by using outdated social security numbers. It took a while for investigators to catch on, but they discovered that the SSNs were from three deceased people who were born in 1887, 1945 and 1960. Welfare fraud investigators were informed by Sabrina’s cousin (who will not be named) about her theft.
Apparently, her cousin told investigators about Sabrina because of a dispute or falling out between the two. Once investigators found out about this situation, they informed the Office of the Inspector General. Representatives from this office contacted Strothers to find out more about her children. Strothers told the representatives that her kids lived with her father in Georgia. When the office of the Inspector General wanted to get the address for the kids in Georgia, Strothers confessed her crime. Strothers was shortly arrested after confessing to her misdeed.
Currently, she is awaiting trial in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the Inspector General’s Office stated that Strothers could be made to pay back the funds she stole, do prison time, or be placed on probation. She will also have to pay court costs and fines and be banned from public benefits for period of time. The Inspector General Office doesn’t want to speculate on this matter and will wait until Strothers has her time in court. There are nearly 59 million American citizens who receive some type of federal or state welfare assistance.
Close to 1 million of these individuals are suspected of committing welfare fraud. The federal government and state authorities often investigate fraud cases. Nearly half of all suspected fraud cases results in guilty people losing their benefits. The welfare system in Pennsylvania and the United States are constantly improving their processes and regulations for detecting and eliminating fraud.