Philly Woman Charged With Defrauding Victim Assistance Fund
In November of 2013, Melanie Bullock was assaulted and stabbed in Philadelphia. She survived the incident, and reached out to the state’s Victim Compensation Assistance Program for help a few months later. Her story took a bizarre turn from there.
The fund provides financial assistance to crime victims, so Bullock fit the bill. The problem, according to the state Attorney General’s Office, was that Bullock allegedly provided the program with phony pay stubs and tax records in an attempt to collect $38,500 in supposedly lost wages.
Investigators from the A.G.’s Office dug into the lost earnings claim Bullock filed in May of 2014, which indicated that she was a finance manager at a company called Blue Ivory Stones LLC, supposedly earning $5,500 a month. Bullock even had her boss, Tara Johnson, sign off on some forms, confirming the whole story.
The only problem: Tara Johnson wasn’t a real person. Investigators determined the name was an alias Bullock had used in a criminal case years ago. And Blue Ivory Stones was created by Bullock through the website LegalZoom just a month before she filed the lost wages claim — even though she wrote in the claim that she had started working there in September of 2013, the A.G.’s Office said.
Investigators also found that Bullock also lied on her claim about the length of time that she had been receiving money from the federal Supplemental Security Income program. She was arraigned on Thursday in Dauphin County, where the Victims Compensation Assistance Program is located, on charges that included attempted theft by deception, forgery, tampering with public records and filing a false claim.
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