Ithaca, N.Y. —New details have emerged in the case of an Ithaca man accused of fraudulently receiving over $35,000 in government-administered benefits.

James C. Dickey, III, 40, was charged in late January with four felonies — two counts of Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree — after defrauding the Tompkins County Department of Social Services for $35,322.77 in SNAP, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance benefits, according to law enforcement.

Court records say that Dickey committed a “fraudulent welfare act” after failing to report that he lives with his wife, who makes over $90,000 per year as an employee of the Ithaca City School District.

Dickey “completed and filed a renewal form to receive Medical Assistance (Medicaid) benefits, which contained false information” in March 2014, according to court documents filed in Ithaca City Court. He received $17,153.77 in Medicaid benefits between July 2014 and January 2015.

Between Sept. 2011 and until the end of Oct. 2014, Dickey’s failure to report his wife’s income also landed him $18,169 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, records say.

“Since James Dickey is married and residing with his wife, her income should have been used in determining his eligibility” said Nancy Curtis, who determines SNAP eligibility as a Social Welfare Examiner for the Tompkins County Department of Social Services.

On Oct. 21, 2014, Curtis received an e-mail stating that Dickey was married and that his wife worked for the ICSD, she wrote in court documents. On that same day, Dickey contacted Curtis and asked her to close his case for receiving SNAP benefits “ASAP.”

Dickey told Curtis that he was moving to Rochester, which is the reason he wanted his SNAP case closed. It was eventually closed on Oct. 31.

Dickey told Terry Ward, a Social Welfare Examiner who determined Medicaid eligibility in Tompkins County, that his relatives were supporting him financially, paying his monthly rent of $400.

Ward wrote in court documents that the three children that Dickey reported having are “often living in Monroe County, which would make them ineligible for benefits in Tompkins County due to living out of the county.”


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Kyle Friend

A senior at Cornell University, Kyle covers the affordable housing crisis for the Ithaca Voice. Reach him through e-mail: kyleafriend@gmail.com.