CANTON The Stockholm man who occupied the May Road property where the bodies of an elderly couple were discovered last month was hospitalized with chest pains after being jailed Monday on welfare fraud charges.
State police charged Robert Bartlett Jr., 42, of 733 May Road, with three counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and one count of third-degree welfare fraud, all felonies. Mr. Bartlett was arraigned in Fowler Town Court and sent to the St. Lawrence County jail on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond. He had been at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, for psychiatric evaluation.
About 9:20 p.m. Monday, two hours after he was brought to the jail, Mr. Bartlett was taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital by Canton Volunteer Rescue Squad for chest pain complaints. Corrections officers at the jail said he was expected to remain in the hospital overnight Tuesday to undergo testing and return to the jail today.
Two weeks ago, an investigation into possible welfare fraud turned into a search for the bodies of 82-year-old Betty D. Babcock and her 84-year-old husband, Alvin S. The bodies were exhumed March 21 and 24 from the backyard of the May Road property. The remains were positively identified as those of the Babcocks.
According to court documents, Mr. Bartlett had been receiving benefits from the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services in the form of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, and the Home Energy Assistance Program.
In a felony complaint filed with Fowler Town Court, Edward F. Tischler, an investigator with the St. Lawrence County district attorneys office and with the county Department of Social Services, said Mr. Bartlett had been obtaining benefits to which he was not entitled after falsely filing forms with DSS on Nov. 21, 2012, March 13, 2013, and July 5.
He was a recipient of SNAP and HEAP benefits and failed to report to (DSS) that he had access to Alvin S. Babcocks Social Security benefits and New York state retirement benefits and was using these sources of income for his own use, Mr. Tischler said.
Mr. Bartlett allegedly received a total of $3,208 in SNAP benefits from Nov. 21, 2012, to March 31, 2013, and again from April 1 to Feb. 28. He also was reported to have received $25 in HEAP benefits from Nov. 26, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013, and $25 in HEAP benefits from Oct. 17 to Nov. 21.
Relatives of the Babcocks have said Mr. Bartlett used to live with the couple.A preliminary hearing in the case against Mr. Bartlett is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday in Fowler Town Court. He will be represented by St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button.