Lotto Winner On Welfare Faces An Additional Charge | News
ALBION, NY- A town of Albion lottery winner accused of scamming the state out of thousands of dollars in welfare benefits was slapped with a new charge in court Tuesday night.
51-year-old Anthony Palermo was charged with a second count of filing a false statement in addition to his previous charges of welfare fraud and grand larceny, all felonies.
Through court paperwork obtained by Two On Your Side, we're learning just how the $1000 a week "Win For Life" winner was allegedly trying to access state benefits.
The welfare fraud report clearly states "Anthony [Palermo] won Lotto in 1998 and came in and applied for HEAP benefits and Medicaid and did not report he was receiving $8000 four times a year from Lotto. This resulted in him receiving $4352.06 in HEAP and Medicaid benefits he was not entitled to."
Orleans County Officials say Palermo collected at least $700,000 from the Lottery to date, but when applying for Medicaid in September 2011, Palermo stated on the form he was earning "no wages." He also stated he was receiving unemployment benefits in the amount of $134 a week, a far cry from $1000 a week for life.
In the line marked "other" where Palermo could've claimed his lottery earnings, he checked none.
Of the more than $4300 in state benefits Palermo allegedly collected, $585 came from the Home Energy Assistance Program in three separate checks this year, including $150 from NYSEG, $275 also from NYSEG, and $160 from NIMO.
It's still unclear why Palermo needed the extra cash and allegedly sought to defraud the public assistance programs, but investigators are continuing to sift through paperwork while the prosecution and defense discuss a plea deal and restitution.
Palermo is due back in court on May 22nd and at that point he could possibly take a plea to lesser charges and agree to pay back some or all of money he allegedly got from Medicaid and HEAP. If he's convicted of the four felonies he could serve jail time, and with any of these outcomes Palermo will still be collecting his Lottery earnings.