Three home care aides who have known each other since childhood are charged with committing more than $100,000 in welfare fraud over a five-year period.
Suzanne Smith, 49, and Michelle Dudek, 30, both of Buffalo, and Kelly Foss, 44, of Alden, are charged with grand larceny, welfare fraud and offering a false instrument for filing.
According to the New York State Inspector General's Office, the women fraudulently received more than $107,000 in benefits from Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is commonly referred to as food stamps.
The illegal activity began in 2011 while the women were privately working as aides for an elderly woman in West Seneca, investigators said. It continued until the woman's death in 2016.
According to the inspector general's office, the women did not properly report their work income to the Erie County Department of Social Services, which made them ineligible for the taxpayer-funded benefits.
Smith did not report more than $142,000 in income, Dudek failed to report more than $82,000 in income, while Foss never reported more than $307,000 in income received from 2011-2016, according to investigators.
All three defendants were arraigned in Buffalo City Court and released.