Ex­eter woman charged with welfare fraud

The Citizens' Voice - - Local - BY JAMES HALPIN STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: jhalpin@cit­i­zensvoice.com 570-821-2058

WILKES-BARRE — An Ex­eter woman was ar­raigned on a felony fraud charge Mon­day al­leg­ing she col­lected more than $4,200 in welfare ben­e­fits she was not en­ti­tled to get.

Laura A. Pomichter, 40, of 122 Rear Schoo­ley Ave., is ac­cused of col­lect­ing Sup­ple­men­tal Nu­tri­tion As­sis­tance Pro­gram ben­e­fits in 2016 af­ter fail­ing to ac­cu­rately re­port her house­hold in­come.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Pomichter com­pleted a ben­e­fits re­view on Dec. 5, 2015, in­di­cat­ing she was un­em­ployed and lived alone with her child. Based on Pomichter’s signed af­fi­davit, she was al­lowed to con­tinue col­lect­ing ben­e­fits, the charges say.

Pomichter com­pleted an­other ben­e­fits re­view in May 2016 and had an in­ter­view with a case­worker in June 2016 — in both in­stances re­port­ing she still lived alone with her child, the com­plaint says.

But then in De­cem­ber 2016, a case­worker got a tip about Pomichter’s case and re­ferred it to the Of­fice of State In­spec­tor Gen­eral. Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, in­ves­ti­ga­tors learned Pomichter had been liv­ing with James Bis­cotto, the fa­ther of her child and an em­ployee of the Luzerne County Do­mes­tic Re­la­tions of­fice.

Bis­cotto’s in­come put Pomichter’s house­hold in­come above fed­eral poverty guide­lines and dis­qual­i­fied her from get­ting the ben­e­fits, the com­plaint says.

Through­out the 2016 cal­en­dar year, Pomichter col­lected $4,284 in ben­e­fits she did not qual­ify for, ac­cord­ing to the charges.

Mag­is­te­rial District Judge Thomas F. Mal­loy Sr. ar­raigned Pomichter on the charge Mon­day and re­leased her on $10,000 unse­cured bail. A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing was set for April 30.

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