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WNY couple pleads guilty to welfare fraud after hiding six-figure incomes

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Posted at 3:14 AM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 03:14:37-04

BUFFALO (WKBW) — A Southern Tier couple is ordered to pay back thousands after they pleaded guilty to welfare and heating assistance fraud.

Edward and Sheila Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty to Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree. They were ordered to pay $11,692 in restitution and sentenced to three years of probation.

An investigation by Acting Welfare Inspector General Leahy Scott found that between November 1, 2012, and September 30, 2017, the Kwiatkowskis repeatedly submitted welfare program documents falsifying and concealing more than $350,000 in income from a construction and firewood business owned by Edward Kwiatkowski.

That business took in more than $140,000 in 2015 alone while the Kwiatkowskis were fraudulently applying for and recertifying their need for SNAP and HEAP benefits.

The investigation also found Edward Kwiatkowski received funding from the HEAP program to provide firewood to families in need but never actually provided the critical heating source.