(WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General says they’ve filed public assistance fraud charges against 55 people during the month of April 2023.

The office says restitution owed to the state in these cases totals $291,826 with additional cost savings possible with those accused temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits.

The number of residents charged in April is down from the 61 people charged in March. The number is up from 33 charged in February and 52 charged in January.

“Ensuring the appropriate distribution of public assistance in Pennsylvania is a crucial responsibility we owe to the people of our Commonwealth, and it is vital to uphold the credibility of these initiatives,” said State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “OSIG’s agents have worked tirelessly to safeguard the public’s trust, and I commend them for their work.”

If convicted, defendants could face a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000.

 In the case of SNAP, Cash Assistance, or Subsidized Day Care fraud, those found guilty also face a mandatory disqualification period from the program.