Minersville Police Officer Accused of Welfare Fraud

MINERSVILLE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Inspector General’s Office says a part-time officer with the Minersville Police Department landed herself in hot water for fraudulently using welfare services she did not need.

Investigators say Ashley Michel applied for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, as well as Medical Assistance (MA) benefits.

Court papers show Michel applied for welfare assistance in July of 2017, saying she had no income, and received $7,254.34 of help from August 2017 through May 2018, never once reporting that she was a paid part-time officer with Minersville police during that time.

People in Minersville were surprised that one of their officers was allegedly scamming the system.

“She should know better. She’s a member of law enforcement. I think it’s wrong,” said Kendalle Difilippo.

“Today’s world so many things have changed. You never know the good from the bad. Most of them are good. That’s how I look at cops. That’s my idea of cops anyway,” said Joe Martinko.

The Minersville police chief says Ashley Michel remains on the department’s roster as a part-time officer, but she has not worked since her arrest.

The chief says he plans to evaluate her employee status over the next few days.

Michel was released on unsecured bail after her arrest.

At Michel’s home in Pottsville, no one answered her door.

“Whether they’re police or whoever they are that’s doing this stuff, it’s costing us the tax payers,” said one Minersville resident.

“That’s a good thing that they’re finally checking on people because I think there’s a lot more people that are abusing the system out there and taking things from the hardworking people,” said Difilippo.

Investigators say if convicted, Michel faces a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

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