For Immediate Release - February 23, 2011

Auditor Bump Identifies $37,949 in Wrongful Charges at Middlesex Human Service Agency

Agency to Return State Money, Revamps Accounting Practice

BOSTON, MA (February 23, 2011) – State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released an audit that found the Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc. (MHSA) wrongfully billed and received $37,949 in payments from the Department of Transitional Assistance.  These payments were to be used for running the Bristol Lodge Men’s Shelter and providing other related services for homeless men in the Waltham area. The audit reported that the funds were improperly used to pay for employees who did not work in the program.

As a result of the audit, MHSA agreed to fully reimburse the State. The agency has also hired a Certified Public Accountant to take over its accounting and billing activities for state-funded programs.

“I am pleased the Middlesex Human Service Agency quickly acted on our recommendations and has taken steps to strengthen fiscal controls so this won’t happen in the future,” said Auditor Bump. “The State is faced with a bleak budget outlook, so it is more important than ever to recover wrongful human service payments.”

Auditor Bump also reported that MHSA was not keeping complete records of the clients it serves at the shelter. Under the conditions of its state contracts, MHSA is required to maintain records for seven years, but could not provide documents for a number of clients during the audit period from July 2006 to June 2010.

Since the audit, MHSA followed audit recommendations and changed record- keeping procedures to ensure staff obtains information on all clients, according to the MHSA’s response.