HUDSON–Four people were charged with crimes associated with welfare fraud, August 22 at 7:23 a.m., according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.
Investigator John Rivero, who is assigned to the Columbia County Welfare Fraud Task Force, began an investigation in March which resulted in the arrests of:
*Anthony J. Palermo, 51, of Earlton charged with first degree offering to file a false written statement, fourth degree grand larceny ($1,854.83) and fourth degree welfare fraud.
*Timothy James Hines, 44, of Ghent charged with third and fourth degree grand larceny ($8,148.21) and third and fourth degree welfare fraud.
*Sandra Bourque, 28, of Albany charged with fourth degree grand larceny ($2,104), fourth degree welfare fraud and first degree offering a false written statement for filing.
*Balynda P. Curry, 32, of Hudson charged with third grand larceny ($3,046), third degree welfare fraud and offering a false written statement for filing.
They allegedly collectively stole in excess of $16,300, according to the release.
The defendants were charged by Investigator Rivero and Deputies Peter Grzeskow and Stephen Hoffman.
They were all arraigned in Hudson City Court, released on their own recognizance and ordered to return to city court at a later date.
During the investigation, Investigator Rivero uncovered information that Mr. Palermo was also engaged in welfare fraud in Greene County. The information was relayed to Greene County Department of Social Services investigators and resulted in charges in that county. He was turned over to State Police in Greene County on a warrant following his arraignment in Hudson.
The Columbia County Department of Social Services and Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czjaka’s Office assisted with the investigation.
Anyone with information about welfare fraud should call the Sheriff’s Office Crimes Tips Line at 518 822-8477.
Leslie Fingar, 55, of Livingston was charged with third degree assault and endangering the welfare of an elderly person by Deputies Peter Merante, Jr., and Jeffrey Hofstetter, August 6 at 4:55 p.m.
Mr. Fingar allegedly assaulted an elderly woman. He was arraigned in Livingston Court before Justice Robert Q. Moore and sent to the county jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bail bond. He was ordered to return to court at a later date.
Curtis Gage, 45, of Valatie was charged with fourth degree criminal mischief and trespass by State Police at the Columbia County Fair, September 2 at 11 a.m.
Mr. Gage allegedly damaged the exterior fence at the fairgrounds. He was issued appearance tickets returnable in Chatham Village Court.
David Newkirk, 39, of Stockport was charged with third degree menacing, a class B misdemeanor and fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor by Deputies Joshua Oakes and Travis VanAlstyne, July 7 at 10:50 p.m.
Mr. Newkirk allegedly threatened a woman with a chair, struck her with it and broke a door in the residence. He was arraigned in Stockport Court before Justice Harold Horner, released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court at a later date. Deputy Louis Bray also assisted at the scene.
The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:
*Brandie J. Teegarden, a/k/a, Brandie J. VanWagner, 23, of Albany was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and having a controlled substance out of a prescription container by Deputies Peter Grzeskow and Travis VanAlstyne, July 6 at 9:15 p.m. Ms. Teegarden, was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over on State Route 9G in Livingston. She allegedly had hydrocodone tablets and marijuana. She was released with an appearance ticket to answer the charges in Livingston Court.
*Anthony J. Scott, IV, 25, of Columbiaville was charged with failure to use designated lane, drivinhg while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana by Livingston State Police, July 15 at 1:30 a.m. Troopers stopped Mr. Scott on State Route 9 in Stockport, interviewed him, found him to be intoxicated and to have a small amount of marijuana. He submitted to a breath test resulting in a .14% blood alcohol content. He was issued tickets returnable in Stockport Court.
*Erik Francis, 21, of Hinsdale, MA, was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana by New Lebanon Troopers Nicholas Lombardi and Bart Van Buren during a traffic stop on Route 20, New Lebanon, Sunday, July 15, just after midnight. Mr. Francis allegedly had marijuana, a glass pipe with the drug and Vyvanse, a scheduled stimulant. He was to answer the charges in New Lebanon Court.
*William Banker, 29, and Maggie Banker, 28, of New Lebanon were charged with first degree criminal possession of marijuana and unlawful growing of cannabis, August 7. A joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, state Department of Environmental Conservation Police, Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and the State Police yielded dozens of marijuana plants and an indoor grow and processing operation in the residence. After information was received by New Lebanon troopers that the couple was growing marijuana on their Dymond Road property, a search warrant was executed. Green and dried marijuana plants, marijuana packaged for sale, numerous items of paraphernalia and cash were recovered. The couple was awaiting arraignment on the charges.
*Miguel Plaza, 29, of Peekskill was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, first degree aggravated unlicensed operation, false personation and several vehicle and traffic violations by Livingston State Police, August 6 at 3:50 p.m. After being advised by Columbia County 911 of an erratic vehicle in Livingston, police located the vehicle on State Route 82 being operated by Mr. Plaza. Troopers pulled him over, interviewed him and he allegedly gave them a false name. The driver, later identified as Mr. Plaza, was found to be intoxicated. He submitted to a breath test resulting in a .26% blood alcohol content. He was arraigned in Livingston Court and sent to the county jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.