State: Westmoreland County man didn’t declare gas royalties when applying for food stamps

IRWIN (AP) – The state Department of Public Welfare says a western Pennsylvania man didn’t declare $206,000 in natural gas royalties he received last year when he filled out a form to receive food stamps and help with his heating bill.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for 50-year-old John Basista, of Irwin, whose home telephone was disconnected July 29.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Basista was charged after DPW’s Office of Inspector General reviewed an application for public assistance and low-income energy assistance he submitted last year.

According to a criminal complaint, Basista received $1,762 worth of food stamps when the royalties would have put his income above the threshold to receive such aid.

He faces a preliminary hearing Aug. 14 on a single count of food stamp fraud.