Worcester Telegram: State charges Whitinsville woman with food stamp fraud
November 30. 2011
A Whitinsville woman who allegedly lied six times over three years so she could receive additional food stamp money from the state is facing charges in Boston today.
At her arraignment in Boston Municipal Court, Jennifer Koenig will face charges of larceny over $250 and six counts of false representations to produce welfare.
Ms. Koenig fraudulently collected $7,527 in food assistance from the Supplemental Nutritional Program known as SNAP, according to state Auditor Suzanne M. Bumps Bureau of Special Investigations.
In a news release, the state auditors office said that, over the course of three years and on six occasions, Ms. Koenig falsified information in applications to the state Department of Transitional Assistance and withheld the fact that she had lost custody of her son.
Danvers Herald: Danvers to seek repayment from state for transportation of homeless children
November 21, 2011
The town of Danvers will seek reimbursement from the state for incurred costs related to school transportation for homeless children living in Danvers motels. Over the years, Danvers has provided shelter and education for hundreds of homeless families, and now thanks to HomeBase, a program working to find housing for motel dwellers, the numbers of families living in Danvers motels has dropped by 28 percent. But the HomeBase program may not be enough to solve the underlying issue of funding.
Communities such as Danvers are required by state law to continually fund the transportation costs for homeless children to be bused to their original district to attend school, if they do not choose to attend school in the community where they have been placed in emergency housing. The cost is split with the community where the child is bused to, however, these costs have placed a strain on Danvers town finances, causing officials to demand repayment from the state. According to Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump, it costs approximately $1,534 yearly to bus a homeless student to another district.
"We should ask our representation for that money," said Selectman Mike Powers.
Bump released a local mandates review opinion in October and determined that the cost for transportation of homeless children after they are placed in a different municipality for temporary housing is an unfunded mandate. The request for the local mandates review came from State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers).
Boston Globe: Law expands powers of auditors office
November 19, 2011
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump announced yesterday that Governor Deval Patrick has signed legislation granting her the authority to audit the use of state money by subcontractors to private organizations that provide services with taxpayer money. Before Patrick signed the bill, Bump was able to audit the use of state funds awarded to private contractors, but lacked the authority to investigate spending by subcontractors. Support for the follow the money bill grew after Bump released a critical audit of the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative, based in Billerica.
Auditor Bumps Follow the Money Bill Signed into Law
November 18, 2011
As part of the sweeping reforms set in place for her office, State Auditor Suzanne Bump announced today that her “Follow the Money” bill was signed into law by Governor Patrick. The new law, formally titled An Act Relative to Vendor Contracts, expands the State Auditor’s statutory authority by granting her office the ability to access records of subcontractors to state contracts.
“The passage of this critically important legislation enhances our ability to perform our job as the state’s fiscal watchdog,” said Auditor Bump. “We can now follow taxpayer money all the way until the final dollar is spent.”
The legislation addresses a preexisting gap in the State Auditor’s ability to insure taxpayer money is spent with accountability. Prior to the signing of the “Follow the Money” bill, the State Auditor had authority to audit the millions of dollars in public services contracted to private vendors, but lacked authority to access records of their subcontractors.
“When I took office as State Auditor I began focusing our audit agenda into areas of the State’s budget with the highest risk. Much of that risk dwells in the complex layers of multi-million dollar state contracts and subcontracts,” said Auditor Bump. “I applaud the legislature for acting swiftly on this good government initiative.”
Press Release: Auditor Bump's Follow the Money Bill Signed into Law