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Ti man accused of abusing HEAP

ELIZABETHTOWN A Ticonderoga man was arraigned in Elizabethtown Court July 31 facing charges of fifth degree welfare fraud and offering a false instrument for filing, both class A misdemeanors. Walter Wiktorko, 39, allegedly submitted an application for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) that contained false information. In doing so, he allegedly received $480.00 in benefits to which he was not entitled. Wiktorko appeared for his arraignment before Town Justice William Garrison, pleading not guilty and requesting counsel. Investigator Gerald Allwell of the Essex County Department of Social Services Fraud Investigation Unit said that although welfare fraud is a fairly common crime in Essex County, cases where HEAP are the only benefits fraudulently obtained are rare. According to Allwell, the county will likely seek restitution from Wiktorko equal to the benefits he obtained, plus interest. Wiktorko was unable to be reached for comment.

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