HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Thirty-three people were charged with public assistance fraud by The Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) in February 2023.

According to the State Inspector General’s Office, in these cases, the restitution owed to the Commonwealth totals $151,802. Additional savings will be added as those charged will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits.

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During February 2023, OSIG filed felony charges of fraudulently receiving public assistance against 31 individuals and misdemeanor charges against two other individuals.

The OSIG alleged that these individuals “misrepresented themselves and fraudulently received taxpayer-funded public benefits to which they were not entitled.”

If convicted, the maximum penalty defendants face for public assistance fraud is seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000. In cases of SNAP, Cash Assistance, or Subsidized Day Care fraud, individuals also face a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they allegedly defrauded.

The number of cases is down from the 52 charged last month.

“The responsible distribution of public assistance in Pennsylvania is a critical component of our duty to the citizens of this state, and OSIG is committed to safeguarding the integrity of these programs,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “I commend OSIG’s agents for their tireless work in upholding the public trust.”