NYPD Officer Arrested for Welfare Fraud, Prosecutors Say
MANHATTAN — An NYPD officer was arrested on charges of welfare fraud Tuesday morning in Lower Manhattan.
Thirty-one-year-old Nivia Fontanez allegedly received about $12,000 in illegal Medicaid benefits between January 2004 and May 2008, when she applied to become a police officer, according to court papers.
A separately charged defendant, Larry Ellison, allegedly helped Fontanez get money she was not entitled to while he was working at the Human Resources Administration as a medical assistance program eligibility specialist. Ellison used his position to reactivate her then-closed Medicaid case on July 31, 2003 and made her eligible to receive benefits even though her income disqualified her, according the criminal complaint.
When Fontanez filed paperwork to become a police officer in 2008, she indicted that she had previously been on public assistance, but only between 1981 and 1998, prosecutors said.
“From when I was born to the age of about 17 yrs old, my mother had me on welfare,” she wrote on the form, according to the court papers.
On another part of the application, she allegedly indicated that she had never received assistance as an adult.
Fontanez was charged with grand larceny, welfare fraud and offering a false instrument for filing.
The charges against Ellison were not immediately clear.