Warren County Memories book 20 Under 40

Elvis impersonator from Glens Falls charged with welfare fraud

2012-01-06T16:48:00Z 2012-01-06T20:49:27Z Elvis impersonator from Glens Falls charged with welfare fraudDON LEHMAN - dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
January 06, 2012 4:48 pm  • 

QUEENSBURY -- Elvis has left the building - the Warren County Sheriff's Office building, that is.

The Sheriff's Office arrested a Glens Falls man Thursday who is a well-known Elvis tribute artist on charges of welfare fraud because he allegedly did not report all of his Elvis income while receiving $50,297 in public assistance.

The man, Joseph E. Ramsey, 33, and his wife, Angela J. Ramsey, 33, of LaRose Gardens, each face 13 felony charges of grand larceny, welfare fraud, health care fraud and offering a false instrument for filing, according to court records.

They allegedly received $34,911 in Medicaid benefits and $15,386 in food stamp benefits since 2008 to which they were not entitled, court records allege.

The Ramseys were charged after an investigation by the Sheriff's Office and Warren County Department of Social Services that began over the summer when sheriff's Investigator Kevin Conine received a tip that Joseph Ramsey was collecting public assistance while not reporting all of his income.

The couple has been receiving public assistance "on and off" since 2003, social services Investigator Elizabeth Burke wrote in an affidavit filed in Queensbury Town Court.

Ramsey has appeared in Elvis shows around the country, and was a frequent prize winner at the annual Lake George Elvis Festival in recent years.

He also operates a company, J.R. Entertainment, through which he books Elvis impersonator appearances.

It was through the company's website that Conine determined that Joseph Ramsey was not claiming thousands of dollars of his Elvis impersonation earnings going back to 2008, court records allege.

Conine checked with organizers of the events and contests Joseph Ramsey attended, and found inaccuracies in the amount of income he was reporting throughout the three-year period in question, court records show.

Some of the venues and events did not respond to investigators' request for information, Burke wrote.

"There is indication from some of the venue respondents that Joe had, at times, taken a percentage of the cover charge for some venues," Burke wrote.

Court records show that the Ramseys appeared to underreport the income on their federal and state tax returns in the years in question as well.

For instance, they reported $6,650 in gross income in 2008, but the Sheriff's Office review found "at least $9,950" in income that year, court records show. Subsequent years appeared to be underreported by $2,500 to $4,800, according to court records.

The Ramseys were arraigned in Queensbury Town Court and released on their own recognizance, pending further prosecution.

A phone message left at the Ramseys' home was not returned Friday afternoon.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(36) Comments

  1. Calycu71
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    Calycu71 - January 13, 2012 9:23 pm
    More people should come forward with tips if they know of anyone cheating any system. Just because you know someone doesn't mean you have to protect them. I hope everyone will take a step in the right direction and protect the system for those who actually need it. The taxpayers will feel a little better knowing the state/counties are not blindly handing out money to those who do not qualify. Same goes for those receiving excess tax refunds because all income is not claimed.
  2. ZENCI2
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    ZENCI2 - January 13, 2012 1:20 pm
    PCF28 said: "Yes, this is a very wrong event. But a lot of us are making judgements on the face of it already being true and certain. Yes charges were made. I won't make light of it. But these people have yet to face the full on conviction. And until this does come to pass, I won't stand by and cast a stone without due course. If there is to be justice, it needs to be full. Once a judge fully rules on it, then people can freely judge. Not until. "

    Of course, you make an excellent point, PCF. I don't think we are so much 'convicting' him here as we are speaking about this kind of dishonesty in general. In any event, he will have his day in court, and we and our comments will have nothing to do with it.

  3. PCF28
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    PCF28 - January 11, 2012 10:18 pm
    Yes, this is a very wrong event. But a lot of us are making judgements on the face of it already being true and certain. Yes charges were made. I won't make light of it. But these people have yet to face the full on conviction. And until this does come to pass, I won't stand by and cast a stone without due course. If there is to be justice, it needs to be full. Once a judge fully rules on it, then people can freely judge. Not until.
  4. mobandy00
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    mobandy00 - January 11, 2012 10:09 am
    I, FOR ONE ,AM VERY THANKFUL THEY HAVE EMPLOYED PEOPLE OR SHOULD I SAY A POSITION THAT INVESTIGATES THIS. IT'S ABOUT TIME THEY CRACKED DOWN ON IT. JUST THINK THOUGH FOR EVERY ONE THEY CATCH HOW MANY ARE GETTING OFF SCOTT FREE... WHENEVER THERE IS SOME KIND OF SOCIAL PROGRAM THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE OUT THERE TRYING TO BEAT THE SYSTEM. THEY DO GET AWAY WITH IT INITIALLY. I FOR ONE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT THINKING SOMEONE WOULD BE POUNDING ON MY DOOR TO ARREST ME... THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND THANK YOU DON LEHMAN FOR THE STORY....
  5. youthinkit2
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    youthinkit2 - January 09, 2012 2:52 pm
    QbyBB said: "Claim discrimination against Elvis - They will drop all the charges..."

    hahaha....good point! I wonder if he will get 6 months paid time off equivalent to his salary too???

    Can't wait to see how this one plays out in light of recent stories... *wink wink*
  6. Katharine
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    Katharine - January 09, 2012 1:54 pm
    Now if only lamb chop sideburns were illegal, it would be a win win situation!!
  7. ZENCI2
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    ZENCI2 - January 09, 2012 8:29 am
    works2much said: "Many do it (fraud) and few get caught. Shame on the people who work for the County. Don't they do background checks?? Welfare needs to go!! As the bumper sticker reads:" Don't quit your job, thousands on welfare depend on YOU!" "

    Wait a sec here. While I do agree that the staff of the various counties really need to buckle down and do the research on applicants, we can't blame them for situations such as this one. People who lie, exaggerate,and cheat are the ones to blame. Yet we need to retain welfare, or we'd have to put up with more violent thieves, and starving people living in the streets. Not every person who applies for welfare is a cheat, some are genuinely needy, particularly in this economy. The ones who do lie are really thieves, and should be punished.
  8. nikki115
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    nikki115 - January 08, 2012 6:59 pm
    justsayin10 said: "It doesn't matter how many years it took them to rack up that ridiculously excessive total. The point is that they lied and cheated the taxpayers when they failed to report all of the income earned through his appearances. These people travel all over the US to shows and events and we're footing the bill. This is his only job. He is hired and paid to sing and also wins cash prizes at competitions, yet we pay for his family to live. These social assistance programs are designed to be a crutch to get people on their feet, not a means of supporting them while they cheat us. Abuse of these programs makes it impossible for hard working people who actually contribute to society to get help."

    This was not his only job and yes they should have reprted the income but theyc did not recive cash money food stasmps ,HUD and medicaid is what they recived from the countey if you look at the max of what they did not "report" it avgerges out to about 300 to 350 .
  9. works2much
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    works2much - January 08, 2012 1:02 pm
    Many do it (fraud) and few get caught. Shame on the people who work for the County. Don't they do background checks?? Welfare needs to go!! As the bumper sticker reads:" Don't quit your job, thousands on welfare depend on YOU!"
  10. jadedI
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    jadedI - January 08, 2012 11:35 am
    He ain't nothin' but a hound dog.
  11. ZENCI2
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    ZENCI2 - January 08, 2012 10:33 am
    grammy12801 said: "They need to start getting tough on this! It's our tax dollars at work. "

    Grammy, people have been saying this for a zillion years, yet nothing happens. While I don't advocate putting people thru the wringer in order to get help paying their rent or heat, I do support the idea of office staff searching records of income to find such inconsistencies as we see here.
  12. ZENCI2
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    ZENCI2 - January 08, 2012 10:27 am
    Bill In Glens Falls said: "This is too bad.He's a great guy and has done a lot of good benefit work. "


    Bill, he should have thought a bit more about doing good when he failed to report his income properly and honestly. Doing benefits does not make up for cheating really needy people.
  13. ZENCI2
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    ZENCI2 - January 08, 2012 10:22 am
    frank1 said: "It is sad that some in our community think it is ok to live off welfare for life. "

    What's really sad is that some in our community think it is OK to go digging right into our pockets to take our hard-earned tax dollars, by lying and cheating other folks who really need it. This is what gives welfare people a bad name.
  14. justsayin10
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    justsayin10 - January 08, 2012 1:37 am
    nikki115 said: "This does say it was from 2008 to 2011 not all one year so it's not more than what you made in a year that was received in a year this was a few years and let's look at it this way until you know the whole story don't judge and we are not the judge or god for that matter."

    It doesn't matter how many years it took them to rack up that ridiculously excessive total. The point is that they lied and cheated the taxpayers when they failed to report all of the income earned through his appearances. These people travel all over the US to shows and events and we're footing the bill. This is his only job. He is hired and paid to sing and also wins cash prizes at competitions, yet we pay for his family to live. These social assistance programs are designed to be a crutch to get people on their feet, not a means of supporting them while they cheat us. Abuse of these programs makes it impossible for hard working people who actually contribute to society to get help.
  15. independentguy
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    independentguy - January 07, 2012 3:22 pm
    what they need is an experienced accountant. the gross income is just that - gross. a good accountant, just like the wealthy do, would get that income down to half that - net income. i bet they do their own books. overall, i agree, welfare should not be a lifelong pursuit. get a job, get off welfare, and do the Elvis stuff on the side.
  16. nikki115
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    nikki115 - January 07, 2012 3:07 pm
    This does say it was from 2008 to 2011 not all one year so it's not more than what you made in a year that was received in a year this was a few years and let's look at it this way until you know the whole story don't judge and we are not the judge or god for that matter.
  17. strong
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    strong - January 07, 2012 12:03 pm
    Welfare has another opening at Heartbreak hotel !!!
  18. halfmoon777
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    halfmoon777 - January 07, 2012 10:32 am
    Someone must have not liked the tune he was playing
  19. vollyff4life
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    vollyff4life - January 07, 2012 6:43 am
    no he's all shook up...uh huh haha hilarious. glad the state hands out our tax dollars so easily.
  20. northq
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    northq - January 07, 2012 6:13 am
    Hi Cricket,my old friend!There have definitely been some doozies this year. kathy70 took the words right out of my mouth,thanks for the laugh.Maybe Elvis should raise his fee so he can make a decent living.
  21. MaketheSense
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    MaketheSense - January 07, 2012 5:07 am
    LUZERNEMTN said: " A Lot of people would much rather sit at home and except a handout then work a honest days work. I see help wanted ads in the paper and in store fronts everyday. Work hard and maybe you can advance to manager at Mc Donald's. I am so sick of 33% of my paycheck going to support this garbage. quote]

    Your efforts could be put to better use by taking on the scam of Temporary Agencies.
    You know, the story where they hire you for $10/hr and charge the company twice that. Just to evade unemployment insurance.

    Better yet, tell the people working at the Temp Agency offices to get that manager's job at McDonalds. But you won't do that, nor will the office people seek that job you've held out.

    Cored out world views, get current.
  22. grammy12801
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    grammy12801 - January 06, 2012 10:47 pm
    Well, the Social Service commissioner got away with it so why shouldn't everybody else! It's terrible. Yet some hard working people who could really use some help get turned down over making a couple of dollars over! They need to start getting tough on this! It's our tax dollars at work.
  23. stabren
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    stabren - January 06, 2012 9:15 pm
    He collected more on welfare than I made last year? WTF? Why did it take so long to notice this? Nobody in the County office sees paperwork with this guys name and sees the promos all summer with his name on them and doesn't say," Hmm"
  24. Bill In Glens Falls
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    Bill In Glens Falls - January 06, 2012 8:13 pm
    This is too bad.

    He's a great guy and has done a lot of good benefit work.
  25. LUZERNEMTN
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    LUZERNEMTN - January 06, 2012 8:04 pm
    The problem is never going to change when the County/State gives out taxpayer money so easy. A Lot of people would much rather sit at home and except a handout then work a honest days work. I see help wanted ads in the paper and in store fronts everyday. Why are these lazy people not forced to take these jobs regardless of what they pay. Work hard and maybe you can advance to manager at Mc Donald's. I am so sick of 33% of my paycheck going to support this garbage. Maybe Cuomo will cut the unfunded mandate of welfare that is sucking the life from the taxpayers.
  26. rhondababy3
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    rhondababy3 - January 06, 2012 7:54 pm
    lmao! you have to be kidding!! and they look at us bikers like we have 4 eyes this is way to much! I really think this is a joke right????????? thanks for the laugh! I needed this after being stuck here this winter with no riding !
  27. Doubter_2
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    Doubter_2 - January 06, 2012 7:34 pm
    Stories like these are so sad...
    All those record deals and movies and now Elvis finds himself on welfare. Probably ripped off by a crooked manager. Sure hope Jimmer has a better financial manager...
  28. St-Egreve
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    St-Egreve - January 06, 2012 7:24 pm
    Everybody in the whole cell block was dancin' to the Jail House Rock !
  29. St-Egreve
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    St-Egreve - January 06, 2012 7:20 pm
    In 1955 Elvis recorded a song called "I Forgot to Remember to Forget." I wonder if he knows that one ?
  30. Peter Guerin
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    Peter Guerin - January 06, 2012 7:18 pm
    I guess this Elvis impersonator will be doing the Jailhouse Rock for real (and yes, the pun is intended).
  31. QbyBB
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    QbyBB - January 06, 2012 7:16 pm
    Claim discrimination against Elvis - They will drop all the charges...
  32. ComicalGirrrlll
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    ComicalGirrrlll - January 06, 2012 7:13 pm
    Maybe the cost of a peanut butter and nanna sandwich went up?
  33. Smith29-2
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    Smith29-2 - January 06, 2012 6:35 pm
    Hey, all that Elvis there has to do is claim he's Native American and they'll drop the charges and pay him for 6 months. He needs to start singing Old Oak Elijah instead of Jailhouse rocka and he'll make out great.
  34. kathy70
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    kathy70 - January 06, 2012 5:52 pm
    Thank you. Thank you, very much!
  35. frank1
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    frank1 - January 06, 2012 5:52 pm
    It is sad that some in our community think it is ok to live off welfare for life.
  36. Cricket
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    Cricket - January 06, 2012 5:38 pm
    I guess being an Elvis impersonator just doesn't pay enough. Boy these stories just keep getting better and better.

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