New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro today announced the indictment of a Middletown resident on charges that she stole more than $4,000 from the state by using a fake identity to work while also receiving welfare benefits.
Jennifer Calderon, 36, of Middletown, was arraigned today on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (D Felonies), Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (E Felonies). She appeared before the Hon. Craig Stephen Brown in Orange County Court.
“Some people will go to great lengths – including entirely making up an identity – to try and game the welfare system,” Inspector General Tagliafierro said. “This office will continue to pursue anyone who attempts to steal welfare funds or defraud the people of the state of New York.”
An investigation by the Inspector General found that Calderon also worked at a local food packing company – Goodness Gardens, Inc. – while collecting wage replacement benefits by using a fake identity. Using the alias “Deniss Figuereo,” Calderon submitted employment and tax documents using the name along with a fake date of birth and fake social security number. While working at Goodness Gardens, Calderon submitted written certification to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Orange County, stating that she was not working or receiving any income. The misrepresentations caused her to wrongfully receive SNAP benefits she was not entitled to, in the amount of $4,135.
The Offices of the Inspector General thanked the Orange County Department of Social Services for their investigative support, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with the arrest, and Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and his office for prosecuting this case.
The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.