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Troopers Arrest 62, Seek 26 for Public Assistance Fraud

Rhode Island State Police Public Safety Complex, Scituate RI.
Rhode Island State Police Public Safety Complex, Scituate RI.

NORTH SCITUATE — Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Policeannounced 62 people wanted on outstanding court warrants for felony charges have been arrested and charged

with fraudulently obtaining public assistance.

State Police are currently searching for 26 other individuals wanted on similar charges.

The 88 suspects allegedly collected approximately $469,000 in public assistance over the past several years after failing to disclose that they had outstanding felony warrants against them at the time they applied for public assistance, which would have precluded them from obtaining benefits. The outstanding felony warrants included a variety of criminal charges for violent and non-violent crimes, ranging from attempted murder and first-degree robbery to felony shoplifting and narcotics violations.

“Public assistance, the SNAP program and other state benefits are there for those who need and deserve them. We cannot and will not tolerate abuse of this system,” Manni said.

The investigation was based on an analysis of data by analysts at the Department of Administration, who determined that these 88 individuals allegedly applied for and received public assistance while they were sought on active felony warrants issued by the Rhode Island Superior and District Courts and/or by courts in other states.

According to DOA records, these individuals never reported the outstanding warrants at the time they filed applications for benefits, under penalties of perjury. Federal regulations require all outstanding warrants to be reported on applications for public assistance.

According to DOA records, these individuals never reported the outstanding warrants at the time they filed applications for benefits, under penalties of perjury.

Previously arrested as a Fugitive from Justice – Milford MA District Court – Intimidation of a Witness/Juror/Police/Court Official.

  • Robert Ferrante, age 50, of 120 Gesler St., Apartment 1A, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official

Previously arrested on a Superior Court Bench Warrant for Breaking and Entering of Dwelling

  • Eugene Smith, age 47, of 239 Public St., Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Fugitive from Justice – State of New Jersey Parole – Violation of Parole on the original charge of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Stolen Vehicle
  • Nicole M. Barlow, age 30, of 15 Sisson St., First Floor, Warren
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official

Previously arrested on a Superior Court Bench Warrant for Embezzlement – Over $100

  • Gilbert L. Spearman, age 29, of 12 Florence St., Third Floor, Providence
  • Christopher J. Martinez, age 28, of 130 Bellevue Ave., Second Floor, Pawtucket
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Previously arrested on a Superior Court Bench Warrant for Larceny – Over $1500
  • Mark A. Smith, age 45, of 139 Lenox Ave., Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession with Intent to Deliver a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance
  • Phyllis L. Coates, age 22, of 53 Sterling Ave., Apartment 3, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Cruelty to or Neglect of a Child
  • Reina Francia, age 57, of 9 Parkis Ave., Apartment 6K, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Felony Shoplifting
  • James Vadala, age 51, of 500 Branch Ave., Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance
  • Maria N. Cruz, age 59, of 35 Fisk St., Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Receiving Stolen Goods – Felony
  • Hector Gonzalez, age 68, of 238 Magnolia St., Apartment 3, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance
  • Anne E. Demers, age 62, of 5 Linwood Ave., Apartment 4, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Felony Shoplifting
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Misdemeanor Shoplifting
  • Rany Dy, age 47, of 13 Waverly St., Second Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Aiding and Abetting – First Degree Robbery
  • Carol J. Bourque, age 53, of 194 Bellevue Ave., Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession with Intent to Deliver a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance
  • Travissa R. Tallo, age 27, of 7 Audrey St., Apartment 2, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1,500
  • Misti N. Bowen, age 35, of 979 Branch Ave., Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Felony Shoplifting
  • Richard L. Brewington, age 69, of 7 Young Ave., Second Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Perjury
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Driving After Suspension of License
  • Robert M. Elgar, age 39, 406 Academy Ave., Third Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Driving After Suspension of License
  • Janice A. Benevides, age 54, of 30 Oaklawn Ave., Apartment B-208, Cranston
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Felony Shoplifting
  • Rosemarie Torres, age 50, of 976 Chalkstone Ave., Apartment 3, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Embezzlement – Over $100
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Driving After Suspension of License
  • Patty M. Reed, age 56, of 1688 Westminster St., Apartment 18, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession with Intent to Deliver a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance
  • Philip A. Ware, age 33, of 29 Cottage St., Second Floor, Woonsocket
  • Donald M. Beals, age 42, of 113 Transit St., Apartment 3, Woonsocket
  • Gloria E. Kane, age 42, of 333 Orms St., Third Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Wanted as a Fugitive from Justice – Wareham Massachusetts District Court – Larceny of a Motor Vehicle
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Domestic – Simple Assault and/or Battery
  • Vincent E. Robinson, age 47, of 170 Waterman Ave., Apartment 25, North Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Wanted by Monmouth County New Jersey for Violation of Probation – Possession of a Controlled Substance.
  • Artayhia S. Towns, 36, of 416 Admiral St., Apartment 1R, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Felony Shoplifting
    • Third Division District Court Bench Warrant for Misdemeanor Shoplifting
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Disorderly Conduct
  • Robert M. Gross, 47, of 391 High St., Cumberland
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Breaking and Entering of a Dwelling
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Breaking and Entering of a Dwelling
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Shoplifting
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Resisting Arrest
  • Efrain Gonsalez, age 79, of 45 Pleasant St., Providence
  • Kelly A. Medico, age 33, of 183 Barton St., Pawtucket
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance (Suboxone)
    • Previously arrested as a Fugitive from Justice – Wrentham MA District Court – Larceny from a Building
  • Albert J. Sanders, age 52, of 50 Norfolk St., Cranston
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Driving without a License
    • Third Division District Court Bench Warrant for Driving without a License
  • Carmen N. Desjardin, age 43, of 23 Summer St., Apartment C2, Lincoln
  • Maia J. Smith, age 25, of 837 Social St., Apartment 4, Woonsocket
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Forgery and Counterfeiting in General
  • Mario J. Nunez, age 53, of 6 Walker St., First Floor, Lincoln
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Breaking and Entering of a Dwelling
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Domestic – Breaking and Entering of a Dwelling
  • Amanda M. Irons, age 29, of 202 Japonica St., First Floor, Pawtucket
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Larceny – Over $1500
  • Christopher J. Coutcher, age 46, of 10 Railroad St., Unit 44C, North Smithfield
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Conspiracy
  • Luz M. Rodriguez, age 28, of 38 Blackstone St., Second Floor, Woonsocket
  • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
  • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
  • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards – Felony
  • Diane J. Stad, age 59, of 277 Woodland Rd., Woonsocket
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance- Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses- Over $1,500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Embezzlement – Over $100
  • Rosemary Page, age 60, of 130 Dodge St., Unit 103, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance
  • Jason F. Carter, age 39, of 1161 West Shore Road, Apartment 7, Warwick
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Receiving Stolen Goods – Over $1500
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Larceny – Over $1500
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Receiving Stolen Goods – Over $1500
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Larceny – Over $1500
  • Melissa M. Oliveira, 46, of 48 Fisher Ave., Warwick
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Driving Without Consent of Owner
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Simple Assault and/or Battery
  • Joseph Summerville, age 24, of 143 Wadsworth St., First Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Forgery and Counterfeiting in General
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Forgery and Counterfeiting in General
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Forgery and Counterfeiting in General
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Possession of a Counterfeit Note
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Forgery and Counterfeiting in General
  • Rebecca L. Williams, age 44, of 47 Burnside St., Second Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Access to Computer to Commit Fraud
    • Filing a False Document with a Public Official
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Embezzlement – Over $100
    • Sixth Division District Court Bench Warrant for Driving After Suspension of License
  • Mayra Gonzalez, age 62, of 537 Douglas Ave., First Floor, Providence
    • Fraudulently Obtaining Public Assistance – Over $500
    • Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses – Over $1500
    • Superior Court Bench Warrant for Burglary
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WARWICK, RI —Pilgrim High students united against tobacco use March 20 along with young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day, an annual day of activism sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

More than 1,000 events were planned across the United States. At Pilgrim High School, students made posters about deceptive marketing practices used by tobacco companies and made anti-smoking pledges.

This year, kids are focused on kicking Juul, the e-cigarette that has become enormously popular among youth across the country.

While cigarette smoking among high school students nationwide has fallen to 8.1 percent, e-cigarette use among high-school students rose by an alarming 78 percent in 2018 alone – to 20.8 percent of the student population. In 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. U.S. public health leaders have called youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” that is addicting a new generation of kids.

In Rhode Island, 20.1 percent of high

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school students use e-cigarettes, while 6.1 percent smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 1,800 lives in Rhode Island and costs the state $640 million in health care bills each year.

“This year on Kick Butts Day, we’re challenging policy makers at every level to do their part to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue driving down youth tobacco use,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We cannot allow e-cigarettes, especially Juul, to addict another generation and reverse the enormous progress we’ve made in reducing youth tobacco use.”

Key facts about e-cigarettes include:

  • The main cause of the youth e-cigarette trend is Juul, which looks like a computer flash drive, is small and easy to hide, delivers a powerful dose of nicotine, and comes in kid-friendly flavors like mango, fruit and mint. According to the manufacturer, each Juul “pod” (cartridge) delivers as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes pose serious health risks for kids.The U.S. Surgeon Generalhas found that youth use of nicotine in any form – including e-cigarettes – is unsafe, causes addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain, affecting learning, memory and attention. Studies also show that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers.