ALBANY COUNTY — Josephine Nakajigo, 40, of Voorheesville was among nine people in Albany County arrested this week for welfare fraud, county spokeswoman Mary Rozak said on Wednesday.
The majority of these cases are uncovered by people calling in and giving tips, said Rozak, which is how this investigation got started as well.
Nakajigo is charged with not reporting income and receiving $15,269 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits fraudulently over a period of almost four years, from February 2015 to January 2019, according to Rozak.
Attempts to reach Nakajigo were unsuccessful.
The arrests by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office followed an investigation by the Welfare Fraud Unit of the Albany County Department of Social Services, according to a press release from County Executive Daniel McCoy.
The nine people are charged with taking a total of $105,353 in fraudulent benefits over time periods that ranged from just over a year to more than four-and-a-half years, the release says.
The release gave examples of some of the “most egregious” cases of alleged welfare fraud, including that of Brittney Mitchell, who investigators say received $25,304 in unlawful payments between May 2015 and January 2019, and Yakema Johnson, accused of taking advantage of the system by failing to report her income and receiving $21,970 over the period from February 2016 through November 2018.
In 2017, the release said, the Fraud Unit achieved an overall cost avoidance of over $3,460,000 by denying fraudulent applications for assistance, and closing or re-budgeting active assistance cases where fraud was detected.