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Salem lawmaker indicted for welfare fraud

Union Leader Correspondent

March 27. 2018 1:41PM


NASHUA — A state representative and former restaurant owner from Salem is facing criminal charges for alleged welfare fraud that took place several years ago and involved more than $13,000.

Republican Rep. John Manning was indicted on two felonies by a Hillsborough County Superior Court grand jury. The complaints allege that Manning, 65, of 30 Maclarnon Road, falsely accumulated a total of $13,354.50 in welfare assistance benefits from 2013 to 2015.

Manning “intentionally made false statements to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services which would affect his eligibility for assistance in that he stated that his niece, Gabrielle Wojtyna, was a household member when in fact she was not residing in the home,” according to the indictments. As a result, Manning received cash and food stamp assistance of $12,640.50 between March 2013 and September 2014 in Nashua, according to court records.

Court records also allege that in June and July 2015 in Nashua, Manning received $714 in welfare assistance that he was not entitled to after he “intentionally failed to disclose a change in his circumstances to the NHDHS which would affect his eligibility for assistance in that he failed to disclose that his son, Stephen Manning, was employed by Rockingham Cafe.”

When contacted by telephone on Monday, Manning told the New Hampshire Union Leader that he was unaware of the indictments, nor had he been notified by authorities or the court system. As of Monday afternoon, Manning had yet to be arrested, though he is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges April 13 at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, according to court documents.

One of the charges is a Class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 7 years in prison, the other is a Class A felony with a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison, according to court documents.

There was no police affidavit on file at the courthouse detailing the allegations against Manning. Assistant County Attorney Kathleen Brown referred all questions to Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan.

“The indictments speak for themselves,” Hogan said Monday, adding that he could not elaborate on the specific charges. When asked about the lengthy time span from the date of the alleged offenses and the indictments handed up March 20, Hogan said that in general, criminal investigations take various amounts of time.

A preliminary trial date has been set for Dec. 15; there was no defense attorney listed in court records for Manning.

In 2015, Manning, a horse trainer and a strong supporter of Rockingham Park, opened Rockingham Cafe on North Broadway in Salem.

Manning is an advocate for casino gambling in New Hampshire and currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.

He had served as a state representative from 2002-2006. Salem returned him the House in 2010 and he has held a seat since.

Manning serves Rockingham County District 8 and plans to seek reelection next fall, according to his Facebook page.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Manning is a former restaurant owner.

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