Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann announced on Monday that two Cayuga County residents are charged with various welfare fraud charges following a two year investigation by investigators from the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department, Cayuga County Department of Social Services Case Integrity Division and Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office.
Rhea Peck, 30, and 33-year old Patrick Stotler, 33, both of Scipio, were arrested on August 17 and charged with several felonies, including Welfare Fraud in the 3rd Degree, Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree, six counts of Filing a False Instrument in the First Degree, and Identity Theft in the Third Degree. In addition they were also charged with misdemeanor charges including: Misuse of Food Stamps and Identity Theft in the 3rd Degree.
Ms. Peck failed to report or notify the Cayuga Department of Social Services where she lived, that a man was who had income was living in her household and her total household income. She is alleged to have failed to inform the Department of Social Services of approximately $30,000.00 she had earned from the sale of gold in February and March, 2017. As of a result of their illegal activity the defendants obtained over $15,000.00 in public assistance, to which they were not entitled. Additionally, Mr. Stotler was seen illegally using Ms. Peck’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits card on multiple occasions, entering her Personal Identification Number (PIN), and items, all contrary to the Social Security Law.
According to Budelmann, “These defendants violated the public’s trust, illegally under reporting Ms. Peck’s actual income to the Department of Social Services, thereby collecting taxpayer money designated for those citizens who truly need public assistance.”
Both subjects have been arraigned and further Court proceedings are pending. This investigation continues and anyone with pertinent information may contact Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Robert Franklin at (315) 253-1132, or Investigator Fred Whitsett of the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office at (315) 253-1391. Anonymous information can be submitted to Cayugacrime.com.