MAYVILLE - The number of welfare fraud arrests in Chautauqua County last year was significantly down compared to 2011. But the numbers are misleading, Sheriff Joe Gerace said.
The number of undeserving residents denied access to public assistance in the first place, though, is soaring, county officials say.
There were 35 welfare fraud arrests in 2012, which resulted in 76 charges. Gerace said most arrests lead to multiple charges. In 2011, the Sheriff's Office arrested 92 individuals defrauding the county's welfare system.
The sheriff, however, said the drop in arrests do not accurately reflect the number of welfare fraud cases currently being investigated. In fact, the number of arrests are nowhere near where they should be.
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