For Immediate Release - December 09, 2011

Auditor's Office ID's Over $500,000 in Public Assistance Fraud

Bump releases report on Bureau of Special Investigations cases

Boston, MA - In a quarterly progress report issued today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said examiners with the office’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) found evidence of $506,721 in fraudulently obtained public assistance benefits and services.

Auditor Bump said BSI examiners completed 1,024 investigations, identifying 109 people defrauding the state out of welfare, food stamps, childcare services, health care benefits, public housing or cash assistance.

“In today’s economic climate, with so many struggling to get by, it is more important than ever to before to make sure every dollar given in benefits goes to those who are actually in need,” said Auditor Bump. “BSI oversight identifies millions of dollars in fraud every year.”

During the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2011, BSI received 2,419 complaints of suspected fraud and found $4.3 million in fraudulent claims. Examiners identified the largest percentage of illegally obtained funds, 65%, in MassHealth programs such as Medicaid and Personal Care Attendants.

BSI examiners work with dozens of state agencies and turn over documented illegal activity to law enforcement agencies for potential criminal prosecution or the appropriate state agency to recoup illegally obtained funds.

The report highlights one case of Medicaid fraud in which a Berkshire County woman claimed to receive personal care attendant services and submitted many so-called “daily activity forms” that entitled her to $26,032 in Medicaid reimbursements. In reality, BSI examiners, working with the Attorney General, discovered the woman had used a stolen name and social security number to create a fictitious personal care attendant so she could cash the fake PCA’s payroll checks for herself. The woman was found guilty to four counts of MassHealth fraud and one count larceny and sentenced to two to four years in the Berkshire House of Corrections.

While the majority of allegations of public assistance fraud come from MassHealth and the Department of Transitional Assistance, the public can also file a complaint through the BSI fraud hotline (617) 727-6771 or by sending an email to infoline@sao.state.ma.us.  All complaints are kept confidential.

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BSI Report: Bureau of Special Investigations First Quarter Report – FY2012 pdf format of    BSI First Quarter Report – FY2012