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Mentally Disabled Victimized in Theft of Their Benefits

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Carol Ann Witmer

Michael E. Dunk

An Elizabethtown woman already facing felony welfare fraud charges and an Elizabethtown man already facing charges related to child sex abuse are now accused of swindling more than $30,000 from two victims who suffer from mental health issues.

The victims in the latest case are residents of Elizabethtown Borough, police said on Tuesday, May 28, as they announced charges against Carol Ann Witmer, 52, and Michael E. Dunk, 53. Police said that during a search warrant service on an unrelated case, they observed financial documentation regarding Michael Dunk as representative payee for two victims who suffer from mental health issues.

After serving several search warrants for financial records, Elizabethtown Police detectives suspected that Dunk and Witmer had gained access as representative payee for the victims and withdrew funds for their own personal use, from at least August of 2017 until March 1 of 2019, with the suspected amount totaling approximately$36,284.38. Charges were filed on May 16 by Detective Dustin Ryan of Elizabethtown Police and were approved by Assistant District Attorney Amy Muller. These charges include one count of theft by unlawful taking, a felony of the third degree, and one count of conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking, a felony of the third degree.

Dunk is currently incarcerated at Lancaster County Prison on unrelated charges, and Judge Miles Bixler set bail on these charges at $20,000.

When police announced charges, they said a warrant had been issued for Witmer, who remained at large and was believed to be actively avoiding apprehension. Police announced on Wednesday, May 29, that Witmer had been apprehended thanks to numerous tips from the public.

Earlier, Witmer waived preliminary hearings on three felony charges of fraudulently obtaining food stamps/ assistance, recipient prohibited acts – false statement and forgery – utters forged writing, court records show. Those charges were filed by the state Office of Inspector General.

Dunk is jailed while awaiting trial on charges related to child sex abuse. His next scheduled court appearance is a status conference scheduled for Thursday, June 13, before Lancaster County Judge Howard F. Knisely.

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