Two state agencies made a joint arrest of a former Northumberland County caseworker on accusations she fraudulently obtained EBT Access Cards in the names of eight public assistance recipients and made a combined $8,621.44 in purchases.
Jennifer L. Curcie, 40, of Coal Township, worked for the Northumberland County Assistance Office when she obtained and used the cards, according to the office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Curcie was fired in August 2018. She was hired by the county in 2015.
Special Agent Ralph Ralston and Investigator Victoria O’Neill charged Curcie with felony counts of theft and fraudulently obtaining assistance. Charges were filed at the office of Sunbury District Judge Michael Toomey.
Ralston works for the Office of Attorney General while O’Neill works for the Office of State Inspector General.
Toomey arraigned Curcie on Thursday afternoon, setting her bail at $10,000 unsecured, as requested by the Office of Attorney General. She waived her right to a preliminary hearing, moving the case to Northumberland County Court. She’s represented by Williamsport attorney Michael Rudinski.
Curcie’s case was referred to the Office of Attorney General by the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General which participated in the investigation and arrest.
“As a caseworker for the Northumberland County Assistance Office, the defendant was supposed to help Pennsylvanians in need access critical benefits so that they could make ends meet,” Shapiro said in a press release announcing the arrest. “Instead, she is charged with using her position to take advantage of the system for her own personal gain.”
“The defendant was responsible for helping our most vulnerable citizens, and her violation of the public’s trust is an affront to every Pennsylvanian,” State Inspector General Bruce R. Beemer is quoted in the release.
State police initially arrested Curcie in May 2018 on allegations she stole an EBT Access Card from a client while working for Northumberland County. The Office of the Inspector General found seven similar crimes, according to arrest papers.
All charges were dismissed against Curcie in September 2018 so the Office of Attorney General and Inspector General’s Office could continue a joint investigation, arrest papers state.
The investigation’s conclusion alleges Curcie used client information to open Access Cards in their names unknowingly between 2012 and 2018, arrest papers state.
The investigators initially accused Curcie of receiving more than $11,000 in fraudulent benefits for herself and her family, however, found that in two cases, the recipients authorized her to use the cards, arrest papers state.