Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 43 year-old Crystal Adkinson of 61 Bush Gardens, Alden, pleaded guilty as charged to Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree before Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka. This was the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had she gone to trial. In other words, Adkison was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Between May 1, 2007 and November 30, 2012, Adkinson falsely claimed she had no source of income and fraudulently collected $36,465 in county welfare benefits from the Erie County Department of Social Services. In fact, Adkinson had had two sources of income: she was fraudulently collecting state unemployment insurance benefits (which resulted in her conviction for Attempted Offering of a False Instrument for Filing First Degree) and she was working at, as well as stealing from, Ryerson Steel (which resulted in her conviction for Attempted Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree). No stranger to the criminal justice system, Adkinson’s criminal record stretches back to 1991 and includes five additional theft offenses.
Adkinson faces a maximum prison term of 2-1/3 to 7 years when she is sentenced on July 8, 2014 by Judge Pietruszka.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Steven J. DiLorenzo who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Financial Crimes Bureau.