Dix Hills Man Accused of Welfare Fraud

 A Dix Hills resident is one of three people accused of welfare fraud, law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Mohammed U. Farooq, 57, of Dix Hills, is charged with fourth-degree welfare fraud, a class E felony. On or about and between Oct. 1, 2012, and April 30, 2018, Farooq allegedly failed to report more than $650,000 in income to DSS, resulting in his receiving $89,366.64 in Medicaid benefits to which he was not entitled.

 Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro and the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (“DSS”) made the announcement, saying that the fraud resulted in the combined theft of more than $197,000 in benefits from the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.

“It is the theft of taxpayer dollars, and it is theft from people who are truly in need,”  Sini said. “I want to thank the Suffolk County Department of Social Services and the NYS Office of the Welfare Inspector General for their continued partnership with my Office to investigate and prosecute anyone who tries to takes advantage of these social services and steal public funds.”

“In an effort to enrich themselves, these three individuals took advantage of important welfare programs designed to help New York families in need,” said New York State Inspector General Tagliafierro. “Through collaboration with District Attorney Sini, we will continue to be vigilant to stop welfare fraud and abuse in Suffolk County.” 

“The Department’s function is to help its residents when in need,” said DSS Commissioner Frances Pierre. “It is very unfortunate that in all public benefit programs, there will always be some that will try to obtain benefits that they are not legally entitled to receive. I would like to thank District Attorney Sini and the New York State Inspector General’s Office along with my Department’s Special Investigation’s Unit for their work on these cases. With the support of County Executive Bellone, the Department will continue to maintain a strong fraud prevention system to assure that public benefits are only issued to those legally entitled.”

Also arrested and charged were:

Rhonda Quick, 49, of Coram, is charged with Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. While collecting welfare benefits from DSS, Quick was employed as an unlicensed home aide for an elderly couple. She allegedly did not report the income she received, resulting in overpayment of $38,371.26 in Medicaid benefits from January 2014 to December 2016; overpayment of $29,285.20 in Public Assistance benefits from January 2014 to January 2017; and overpayment of $12,357.00 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) benefits from March 2014 to January 2017. In total, Quick received $80,013.46 in benefits to which she was allegedly not entitled.

Chaniesa Simmons, 45, of Central Islip, is charged with Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. While collecting welfare benefits from DSS, Simmons was employed as a licensed home health aide. She allegedly did not report the income she received, resulting in overpayment of $15,550.52 in Medicaid benefits from January 2014 to December 2016 and overpayment of $12,148.00 in SNAP benefits from March 2014 to January 2017. In total, Simmons received $27,703.52 in benefits to which she was allegedly not entitled.

Farooq was arraigned Sept. 30 and was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on Nov. 4. Quick was arraigned on Sept. 22 and was released on her own recognizance. She is due back in court on Oct. 26. Simmons was arraigned on Sept. 21 and was released on her own recognizance. She is due back in court on Oct. 26.

If convicted of the top count, each of the three defendants faces a maximum sentence of one and one-third to four years in prison.

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