BUFFALO – New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang today announced the October 23, 2023, sentencing of West Seneca resident Christopher Sadowski, 36, on his previously entered plea of guilty to the charge of Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree, under Penal Law §158.05. Erie County Supreme Court Judge Debra Givens sentenced Sadowski to a term of three years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, and full restitution, which he paid prior to sentencing.
Sadowski stole over $5,000 from New York State by applying for and collecting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the names of his two children, for his own benefit, during two separate six-month periods in 2019 and 2021, despite having neither custody of the children, nor the ability to see or communicate with them as a result of active orders of protection. In fact, during both periods when Sadowski was collecting benefits on behalf of his two children he had no contact with either of them, or their mothers, who had full custody.
“SNAP benefits are a crucial resource for helping low-income, senior, and disabled New Yorkers put food on the table for themselves and their families,” said New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang. “To divert resources from such a critical program is despicable and jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of the safety net the welfare system provides. My office and I are proud of our role in protecting these benefits from those who would take advantage of them.”
The Inspector General offered her thanks to the team who handled this matter, including Investigative Counsel Philip Druss and Investigators Amanda Brennan and Christopher Martello under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General Jeffrey Hagen, Former Chief of Investigations for the Western Region Charles Tirone, Chief of Investigations for the Western Region Office Martin Stanford, and Attorney-In-Charge of Welfare Matters, Kristin Abreu.
Inspector General Lang is also grateful to the Erie County Department of Social Services for its assistance with this investigation and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office for prosecuting the matter.
The New York State Office of the Welfare Inspector General (OWIG), as established by §74 of the New York State Executive Law, is tasked with maintaining the integrity of New York State's public assistance programs. Inspector General Lang, who also serves as the New York State Welfare Inspector General, is responsible for conducting investigations of fraud, abuse or illegal acts perpetrated within local social services districts and by beneficiaries of public assistance services. Additionally, the Welfare Inspector General is charged with recommending policies relating to the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse, and to monitor the implementation of those recommendations.
If you suspect benefit fraud is or has taken place, you can file a complaint on our website IG.NY.GOV or by calling 1 (800) DO-RIGHT.