Lawmaker enters not guilty plea

NASHUA – A Republican lawmaker serving on the New Hampshire House Ways and Means committee pleaded not guilty to charges of welfare fraud Friday.

John Manning, 65, a state representative from Salem, is charged with fraudulently collecting more than $12,000 in state welfare benefits. He was indicted by a grand jury in Hillsborough County Superior Court South last month.

On Friday, he waived his appearance and entered a not guilty plea to the charges.

Manning, a member of the Live Free or Die Alliance, is charged with two counts of public assistance-prohibited acts, which stem from allegations he “intentionally made false statements to the state Department of Health and Human Services … resulting in the receipt of assistance benefits” totaling roughly $12,640, “to which he was not entitled,” according to one of the indictments.

Specifically, Manning, between March 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, allegedly stated that his niece, Gabrielle Wojtyna, was a member of his household “when in fact she was not residing in the home,” the indictment states.

The other indictment alleges Manning “intentionally failed to disclose” that his son, Stephen Manning, was employed by John Manning’s Salem restaurant, which led to the elder Manning receiving in June and July 2015 roughly $714 in benefits to which he wasn’t

entitled.

Manning, of 36 MacLarnon Road, Salem, served two terms in the House from 2002-2006, and, after being elected again in 2010, is now in his fifth consecutive term. He is a current member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the group of legislators whose responsibilities include overseeing the state treasury.

According to Manning’s biography on the House website, he is single and has eight children. He owns the Rockingham Cafe in Salem and also is a horse trainer.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.