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Welfare fraud charges have been filed in Olean City Court against 18 current or former Cattaraugus County residents who are accused of illegally collecting a total of $15,597 in benefits.

District Attorney Larry M. Himelein Thursday said the suspects are charged with defrauding the County Social Service Department either of cash or food stamps.

Most of the cases will be handled in City Court, but those involving felonies may be referred to a grand jury, Himelein said.

The largest falsification, $3,467, was attributed to John Duhan, 29, and his wife, Janine, 32, of Salamanca, who were charged with third-degree grand larceny.

Kathy Lycett, 30, of Allegany, was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny in connection with alleged thefts totaling $1,004 and with petit larceny and misuse of food stamps allegedly worth $199.

The Duhans will be arraigned June 7, and Miss Lycett, June 21.

The following were charged with petit larceny, welfare fraud and misuse of stamps with the amounts noted:

Duaynea B. Baldi, 37, of Olean, $717; Cindy Groves, 41, of Randolph, $217; Donald Franklin, 33, and his wife Janet, 30, of Olean, $200, and Elaine Paul, 32, of Perry, $578.

Also on the docket for June 7 are Irene Mastin, 54, of Salamanca, $2,810, and Cheryl Brant, 37, of Gowanda, $1,706, both accused of fourth degree grand larceny.

Scheduled for arraignment June 14 were the following charged with petit larceny, welfare fraud and misuse of stamps:

Claribel Nagel, 60, of Gowanda RD, $365, and Patricia Reiller, 20, of Salamanca, $342. Also to be arraigned then are Marion Tarr, 55, of Olean, petit larceny and welfare fraud, $245, and John Fiebelkorn, 51, and his wife Lois, 48, of Jamestown, fourth degree grand larceny, $1,791.

Additional suspects to be arraignment June 21 Ben Russell, 23, and his wife Cynthia, 27, of Ellicottville, fourth degree grand larceny, $2,201, and Lyle Lawrence, 57, of Cuba RD, petit larceny and misuse of stamps.

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