Jun 06, 2018 News
New York – New York State Inspector General, Catherine Leahy Scott, and Queens County District Attorney, Richard A. Brown, has announced the arrest of a Queens husband and wife accused of stealing nearly $92,000 in welfare food stamp and healthcare benefits by concealing income the couple earned through employment.
Dhaneshwar Sukhdeo, 42, and Samantha Sukhdeo, 46, of Lefferts Boulevard, were each arrested and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree and twelve counts each of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, all felonies.
The charges allege the couple falsified applications for public assistance benefits enabling them to receive $16,132 in food stamp benefits and $75,864 in Medicaid coverage to which they were not entitled.
“Through a brazen fraud, these defendants concealed their employment income so they could steal taxpayer funded public benefits to which they were not entitled,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott.
“I will continue to use all of the resources at my disposal to protect the integrity of the public benefits system for those who are truly in the most need of financial assistance.”
“Food stamps and medicaid benefits are intended to help the truly needy. The defendants in this case, however, are alleged to have taken advantage of the system by downplaying their income to collect assistance – making all taxpayers victims of their con,” said District Attorney Brown. “I want to thank Inspector General Leahy Scott and her office for their commitment to uncovering welfare fraud. My office will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to stop those who would game the system for their own financial gain.”
An investigation by Inspector General Leahy Scott found that between 2009 and 2016, the Sukhdeos fraudulently obtained $91,996 in welfare benefits to which they were not entitled by repeatedly submitting documents falsifying and concealing their household income when applying for food stamps (also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) and Medicaid coverage.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state programme that provides health coverage for low income and at-risk individuals. In repeated applications and re-certifications for the benefits, the Sukhdeos listed no employment income for Dhaneshwar Sukhdeo, who was indeed receiving income as an electrical contractor.
Altogether, the Sukhdeos received $75,864.74 in Medicaid and $16,132 in food stamps to which they were not entitled.
The Sukhdeos were both arraigned on the charges in Queens Criminal Court Monday evening and released on their own recognizance pending their reappearance in court on June 12.
The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Inspector General Leahy Scott thanked the New York City Human Resources Administration for their assistance with the investigation, and Queens County District Attorney Brown and his office for their assistance with the investigation and for prosecuting this matter.
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