New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro today announced the guilty pleas of a New Jersey couple who lied about their income and residence to fraudulently obtain more than $39,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits.
Carlos Monsanto, 41 and Angelina Reyes, 39, of Teaneck, NJ, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court before Judge Charlotte Davidson. Reyes pleaded guilty to Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree (A misdemeanor). Monsanto pleaded guilty to Disorderly Conduct, a violation. As part of the plea, the couple paid full restitution of $39,378.
In January 2019, the Office of the Welfare Inspector General (OWIG) received a complaint alleging that Monsanto and Reyes have resided in New Jersey but failed to disclose their out-of-state residency and significant employment income to the New York City Human Resources Administration when applying for public assistance benefits.
OWIG’s investigation found that Reyes and Monsanto were married in 2004 and listed a Bronx address as place of residence on their marriage certificate. Reyes and Monsanto divorced in 2008, but Reyes moved to Monsanto's home in Teaneck in 2018. A review of utility payments, a real estate purchase, SNAP purchase locations, vehicle lease addresses and material on Reyes’ Facebook page found that the pair indeed resided in Teaneck full time by August 2018.
Despite this, between August 2018 to November 2020, Reyes submitted claims for SNAP and Medicaid assistance in New York State, falsely listing an apartment on 175th Street in Manhattan as her place of residence. Additionally, Reyes failed to list their actual income in applications/recertifications for benefits. OWIG’s investigation found that Reyes and Monsanto’s combined income in 2019 was more than $132,000.
In total, Monsanto and Reyes received $39,378 in welfare benefits to which they were not entitled.
“SNAP and Medicaid benefits are crucial lifelines for thousands of New Yorkers who are truly in need,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “When individuals take advantage of these safety nets for illegal personal gain, it is an affront to us all. I thank our partners at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this matter.”
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked the Manhattan District Attorney for conducting the arrest and prosecuting the case.