Welfare fraud program leads to 25 arrests

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes gave the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee an update on the new welfare prosecution program Monday morning.

County Administrator Phil Church and Barry Leemann, who was the legislature chairman at the time, approached Oakes with concerns in regard to welfare fraud cases.

“Since we’ve began this program we’ve had 25 arrests,” Oakes said.

Between October and December, there have been 11 felony arrests. As of the first of the year, there have been 14 arrests. The total number of arrests in four years is 29.

“So essentially in the last three months, we’ve got what we had four years prior,” Oakes said.

He added that the staff is building great cases. “I thank this body,” Oakes said to the committee for allowing his department the resources to do the work.

The county has recovered $57,861 since the first of the year. The amount of $48,924 has been paid to the county Department of Social Services. Approximately $5,700 is being recouped through diminished benefits and $3,182 is being paid through probation.

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