NORWICH – An Afton businessman who was convicted of felony fraud in June returned to Chenango County Court Monday to face another jury in a similar fraud case, but took a plea deal instead.
Edward J. Panus, 60, pleaded guilty to fourth degree welfare fraud, an E Class felony. The plea could add another four years to his maximum prison sentence in conjunction with his previous felony convictions.
“Citizens who are deserving of public assistance certainly are eligible to receive it, but when people choose to deceive or hide the accuracy of their finances in an effort to intentionally defraud the public, they should and will be punished. It’s stealing and it’s all the hard working taxpayers of the county that are the true victims of these crimes,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael D. Ferrarese.