A man who received welfare from Belleville Township was arrested Thursday on two counts of state benefits fraud charges that allege he accepted aid while he was employed.
Timothy A. Benson, 26, of the 100 block of North 11th Street in Belleville, is accused of telling the township that he was unemployed when he actually was working for a temporary employment service and receiving income.
Belleville Detective Sgt. Mark Heffernan said Benson is accused of improperly receiving slightly over $2,000 from July 2014 to July 2015.
Heffernan said Benson received general assistance from the township and twice he received aid to pay medical bills.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The township is tasked with giving aid to needy individuals who typically receive $245 a month in gift cards to discount stores or help in paying rent.
Through their internal checks and balances, they discovered this potential fraud, which was reported to the Belleville Police.
Detective Sgt. Mark Heffernan
“This case was reported through the Belleville Township. Through their internal checks and balances, they discovered this potential fraud, which was reported to the Belleville Police,” Heffernan said.
In August, the township board members asked their attorney to contact St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly to see if the person suspected of fraud could be prosecuted and if restitution can be made.
Trustee Joe Hubbard at the time described the person’s alleged actions as “double-dipping.” To prevent future abuse, the board voted to use Equifax to check the income of prospective clients.
The investigation led to the Class 3 felony charges filed on Wednesday. Kelly declined to comment on the case.
Township Supervisor Dennis Korte also said he could not comment on the pending charges.
Benson was arrested at the St. Clair County Building Thursday morning when he went there for traffic court, Heffernan said. Benson was then taken without incident to the St. Clair County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of $30,000 bond.