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Three arrested on welfare fraud charges in Herkimer County

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - Three people were recently arrested for welfare fraud in Herkimer County, the Herkimer County Sheriff's Office Welfare Fraud Unit announced.

Heather LaPlant, 34, of Herkimer, faces charges of grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony, welfare fraud in the third degree, a Class D felony, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony.

Steven M. Appel, 51, of Fort Plain, N.Y., is charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony, grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, and welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a Class E felony.

Carla E. Colluci, 30, of Little Falls, is charged with welfare fraud in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor, petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, and offering a false instrument for filing, a Class E felony.

LaPlant is accused of fraudulently receiving $26,210 worth of child care benefits by submitting fraudulent day care time sheets to the Department of Social Services over a two-year period, officials said.

Appel is accused of reporting to the Herkimer County Department of Social Services that he was living in Herkimer County when he was living in Montgomery County. According to officials, he received $2,000 in public assistance over a period of time.

Collucci is accused of failing to report self-employment income to the Department of Social Services and fraudulently receiving $874 in public assistance, officials say.

LaPlant was arraigned in the Village of Herkimer Court and committed to the Herkimer County Correctional Facility. Appel was arraigned in Herkimer Village Court and released after posting bail. Collucci was given an appearance ticket and will return to Herkimer Village Court at a later date.

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