New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro today announced the sentencing of a New Jersey woman who defrauded New York’s welfare system for more than $35,000 by falsely claiming she lived in Schenectady without any money, when in fact she was living in New Jersey with access to income well-above the poverty level.
Nicole Tompkins, 30, of Palisades Avenue in Bogota, N.J., pled guilty today to three counts of Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree, one count of Petit Larceny and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree (all misdemeanors). She was sentenced before Hon. Robert Hoffman in Schenectady City Court to pay full restitution plus fines and 120 hours of community service. Tompkins is also barred from seeking SNAP benefits for one year.
“While the welfare system provides a crucial safety net to those in need, this woman falsely claimed poverty and siphoned aid that cheated taxpayers,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “This egregious abuse of social services for personal gain is now bringing real consequences.”
An investigation by the Inspector General’s Office and the Schenectady County Department of Social Services Special Investigations Unit determined that since January 2017, Tompkins repeatedly certified to the Schenectady County Department of Social Services that she lived in Schenectady without access to income.
In fact, she was living in a New Jersey apartment with the father of her child, who earned a salary of more than $106,000. The false representations enabled Tompkins to receive more than $31,350 in Medicaid premium benefits for her and her child, who was eligible for private health insurance coverage through the father’s employment.
Additionally, between January 2017 and February 2018, the false representations, which included forged documents from a Schenectady landlord, enabled Tompkins to receive $5,147 in home heating assistance and food stamp benefits to which she was not entitled.
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked the Schenectady County Department of Social Services for their partnership with the investigation, the New York State Police for processing the arrest and Schenectady County District Attorney Robert M. Carney and his office for prosecuting this matter.