Woman charged with welfare fraud

A local woman was charged with welfare fraud last week after she allegedly received more than $1,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Charlene Bessette, 44, of Whitehall, was charged on March 5 with fourth degree grand larceny, a felony, following an investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington County Department of Social Services.

Bessette is accused of receiving $1,050 in Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits by falsely reporting her primary source of heat and heating materials.

Bessette reported her primary means of heating her home was a pellet stove and that she was out of pellets. But officials determined she was using electricity to hear her home. They also discovered that she already had a supply of heating pellets on her property.

Bessette was processed at the Fort Edward Sheriff’s Office and issued a ticket to appear in court on March 26.

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