New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro today announced the guilty plea of a Bronx woman who stole more than $116,000 in welfare benefits by misrepresenting herself for years as an impoverished single mother of four living alone when she was in fact living with and supported by the father of her children who was gainfully employed in various city jobs.
Elena Marrero, 32, of the Bronx, pled guilty today to Falsifying Business Records (E felony) before Hon. Leslie A Stroth in Civil Court of the City of New York. As part of the plea, Marrero will pay $30,000 in restitution and enter a $86,000 civil judgment for the remaining funds.
“This individual perpetrated a six-figure fraud against taxpayers,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “My office and our law enforcement partners will pursue anyone who defrauds and taints these critical benefit programs as a means to enrich themselves.”
An investigation by the Offices of the Inspector General found that since 2014, Marrero consistently filed for State-regulated welfare benefits, including cash assistance, food stamps and Medicaid, by claiming to be a single mother of four with little income. Marrero’s welfare application filings with the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) failed to disclose, as required, that she actually lived with a domestic partner, the father of her four children, who worked for the City of New York Sanitation Department and FDNY as well as a paramedic and emergency medical technician. Marrero’s filings also failed to disclose income she made in 2016 and 2017 while working at a fast-food pizza franchise.
In total, Marrero received $39,590.43 in welfare cash assistance, $22,736 in food stamps assistance and $54,636.74 in Medicaid benefits to which she was not entitled.
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and her office for their assistance with the arrest and for prosecuting this case. She also thanked the New York City Human Resources Administration for their assistance in the case.