LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Several New Jersey residents accused of obtaining public welfare benefits they weren’t entitled to are now seeking entry to a pretrial intervention program that could eventually erase the charges from their records.

Six of the 26 Lakewood residents facing the charges disclosed their plans Wednesday during a court hearing. Each is charged with theft by deception, and their attorneys have maintained their clients’ innocence.

Prosecutors say the residents underreported their incomes to qualify for benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid. Authorities have said more than $2 million in public welfare benefits were paid out.