(WHTM) – Sixty-one people were charged with public assistance fraud by the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General in March with more than a quarter-million dollars worth of restitution owed.

Sixty of the individuals charged face felony charges for allegedly fraudulently receiving public assistance, while one person faces misdemeanor charges. The number is up from 33 charged in February and 52 charged in January.

The State Inspector General’s office says it is alleged that these individuals misrepresented themselves and fraudulently received taxpayer-funded public benefits to which they were not entitled.

“The proper allocation of public aid in Pennsylvania is a fundamental obligation we have to Commonwealth residents, and it is essential to maintain the integrity of these programs,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “I applaud the relentless efforts of OSIG’s agents in maintaining the public’s confidence.”

If convicted, the maximum penalty for public assistance fraud is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000.

In the case of SNAP, Cash Assistance, or Subsidized Day Care fraud, the Inspector General’s office says individuals also face a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they allegedly defrauded.