Welfare Fraud Task Force Announced   

Liberty, NY – Joseph Todora, Commissioner of the Sullivan County Division of Health and Family Services, is pleased to announce the reorganization of the County Social Services fraud unit.  

The new unit has been titled the Sullivan County Welfare Fraud Task Force. The Task Force incorporates resources from the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Special Investigations Unit at Family Services.

“The Task Force began operation in May and focuses on both criminal as well as administrative violations, with an emphasis on obtaining restitution,” said Commissioner Todora. “Our goal is to root out those who commit fraud and protect the taxpayers while delivering necessary services that are required by law.”

The Task Force is focused on cases in public assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps), Home Energy Assistance (HEAP), daycare and child support.  Some cases investigated by the Task Force may not amount to criminal conduct but may clearly be administrative violations, such as overpayments to recipients.  

“Administrative violations are taken just as seriously as the criminal ones,” said Todora, who noted that administrative violations have resulted in suspensions of benefits.

“In concert with the County Legislature, I’ve directed our Social Services staff to be aware of fraud, waste and abuse in their duties, and to take action when they note such,” Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek explained. “Taxpayers must be protected at the same time we are providing these much-needed services to those who legitimately seek them.”

In addition to reorganizing the fraud unit into a Task Force, Commissioner Todora has introduced a 24-hour confidential tips line so that the public can report suspected incidents of fraud and abuse: 845-513-2392.

The following is a synopsis of some of the cases investigated by the Fraud Task Force since its inception in May:

June 30, 2017 - Gary M. Ivory Sr. of Monticello was arrested and charged with 1 count of Welfare Fraud 3rd, a Class D Felony, and 3 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing 1st, a Class E Felony. It was alleged that Ivory stole $8,831.92 in Public Assistance Benefits. Ivory was arraigned in Sullivan County Supreme Court and remanded on $6,000 bail. Subsequently, he pled guilty to these charges and is serving time in state prison.

July 20, 2017 - Donna J. Cuevas of Bloomingburg was arrested and charged with the Class E Felonies of Welfare Fraud 4th and Offering a False Instrument for Filing 1st. It is alleged that Cuevas stole $2,364 in Public Assistance Benefits. Cuevas was released on an appearance ticket pending her appearance in Town of Liberty Court.

July 25, 2017 - Tracie Caccavale of Masten Lake was arrested and charged with Welfare Fraud 5th, a Class A Misdemeanor. It is alleged that Caccavale stole $7,126.49 in Public Assistance Benefits. Caccavale was released on an appearance ticket pending her appearance in Town of Liberty Court. Full restitution has been received.

July 26, 2017 - Jessica T. Ellis of Loch Sheldrake was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny 4th, a Class E Felony, and Misuse of Food Stamps, a Class A Misdemeanor. It is alleged that Ellis stole a benefit card and $172.59 in food stamps. Ellis was released on an appearance ticket pending her appearance in the Town of Fallsburg Court.

August 1, 2017 - Travis A. Schadt of White Sulphur Springs was arrested and charged with the Class E Felonies of Welfare Fraud 4th and Offering a False Instrument for Filing 1st. It is alleged that Schadt stole $1,933 in Public Assistance Benefits. Schadt was released on an appearance ticket pending his appearance in the Town of Liberty Court.  

August 25, 2017 - Jay B. Azzato of Harris was arrested and charged with the Class A Misdemeanor of Welfare Fraud 5th. It is alleged that Azzato stole $9,140.41 in Public Assistance Benefits. Azzato was released on an appearance ticket pending his appearance in the Town of Liberty Court. Full restitution has been received.

August 30, 2017 - Jackyleen Parisi of Monticello was arrested and charged with the Class D Felonies of Grand Larceny 3rd and Welfare Fraud 3rd and the Class E Felony of Filing a False Instrument 1st. It is alleged that Parisi stole $30,971 in Public Assistance Benefits. Parisi was arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and released pending a future court date.

September 7, 2017 - Michael R. Parisi of Wurtsboro was arrested and charged with the Class D Felonies of Grand Larceny 3rd and Welfare Fraud 3rd, and the Class E Felony of Filing a False Instrument 1st. It is alleged that Parisi stole $30,971 in Public Assistance Benefits. Parisi was arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and released pending a future court date.    

September 13, 2017 - Reginald L. Jackson of Kauneonga Lake was arrested and charged with the Class E Felony of Falsifying Business Records 1st and Class A Misdemeanors of Welfare Fraud 5th and Theft of Services. It is alleged that Jackson stole $91.60 in Public Assistance Benefits. Jackson was arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and remanded back to Sullivan County Jail, where he was previously incarcerated on a parole violation warrant.

September 19, 2017 - Stephanie N. Tope of Glen Spey was arrested and charged with the Class E Felonies of Welfare Fraud 4th and Filing a False Instrument 1st. It is alleged that Tope stole $2,259 in Medicaid Benefits and $200 in Food Stamp Benefits. Tope was released on an appearance ticket pending a future court date.

In summary, a total of 22 cases of suspected fraud were investigated, resulting in 10 arrests and 12 cases being referred for administrative action and collection of overpayments.  

In addition, the newly formed Task Force investigated and arrested the following on outstanding warrants:

July 28, 2017 - Thomas Lohmann of Hurleyville was arrested on an active Sullivan County Family Court Warrant. It is alleged that Lohmann owes $76,134.43 in child support. 

August 11, 2017 - Reginald L. Jackson of Kauneonga Lake was arrested by Task Force members and NYS Parole for parole violations. Jackson is being held at the Sullivan County Jail pending a parole hearing.  

August 11, 2017 - Lucille Dumas of Monticello was arrested by Task Force members and NYS Parole for parole violations. Dumas is being held at the Sullivan County Jail pending a parole hearing. 

August 11, 2017 - Thomas Crowley of Liberty was arrested by Task Force members and NYS Parole for parole violations. Crowley is being held at the Sullivan County Jail pending a parole hearing.  

September 11, 2017 - Richard A. Meyerer of Liberty was arrested on an outstanding Sullivan County Family Court Warrant. It is alleged that Meyerer owes $11,988.24 in unpaid child support.

September 11, 2017 - Mahesh Budhram of Queens was arrested on an outstanding Sullivan County Family Court Warrant. It is alleged that Budhram owes $1,515 in unpaid child support.

September 12, 2017 - Jayson Maceira of Hurleyville was arrested on an active Sullivan County Family Court Warrant. It is alleged that Maceira owes $20,973.68 in unpaid child support. 

September 18, 2017 - James T. Paterson of Fallsburg was arrested on an outstanding Sullivan County Family Court Warrant. It is alleged that Paterson owes $38,016 in unpaid child support. Paterson was arraigned in the Town of Thompson Court and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail.

The public officials responsible for the development, deployment and supervision of the Task Force include District Attorney James Farrell, Executive Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl, Sheriff Michael Schiff, Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, Commissioner Joseph Todora and Deputy Commissioner William Moon.


One of 6 flyers developed by the new Sullivan County Welfare Fraud Task Force, which will be circulated throughout the County during October.

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