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Alden caregiver pleads guilty in scheme to defraud 105-year-old West Seneca woman

An Alden woman has pleaded guilty to third degree welfare fraud in State Supreme Court. She is one of three women -  all childhood acquaintances - who were charged with fraudulently receiving more than $107,000 in welfare benefits while earning more than a half-million dollars income as aides for an elderly West Seneca woman.

Suzanne Smith, 50, of Buffalo pleaded guilty earlier this month to welfare Fraud in the third degree, a felony.

“Through brazen subterfuge, this defendant took part in a six-figure fraud to steal taxpayer-funded benefits which are meant only for those most in need of public assistance,” said Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

“This defendant was double-dipping for years in this scheme to defraud the state of money that is designated for people who need assistance,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

On Monday, Kelly Foss, 44, admitted to collecting food stamps while working as a caregiver for the 105-year-old woman.

Foss admitted to lying on her Department of Social Services application and recertification applications, receiving over $34,000 in fraudulent benefits. She incorrectly claimed she received no compensation as an aide.

Foss faces up to seven years in prison when sentenced on January 25.

Also charged in the scheme is Michelle Dudek, 30, of Buffalo. Dudek is charged with grand larceny in the third degree, welfare fraud in the third degree, and 11 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, all felonies.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.