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In a report issued today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said examiners within her office’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) in the second quarter of FY 2013 identified 205 of cases of individuals abusing public assistance programs amounting to more than $1.4 million dollars in total fraudulent activity.
Auditor Bump said BSI examiners completed over 1,700 investigations in the quarter, and that cases of positively identified fraud involved food stamps, health care benefits, cash assistance, and Medicaid personal care attendant services.
“Public assistance programs are designed to help those who truly need benefits to feed and care for their families,” said Auditor Bump. “Uncovering fraud through our investigations helps to ensure that these programs are reaching the intended recipients.”
With a budget of $1.8 million, BSI identified over $5.5 million of fraud in public assistance programs in fiscal year 2012. In the same year, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) administered more than $1.7 billion in total benefits and MassHealth paid more than $11 billion to healthcare providers.
BSI examiners work with DTA, MassHealth, the Attorney General’s Office and other government agencies to document fraudulent activity. Completed BSI investigations lead to both prosecution and recovery of funds. In the second quarter, BSI investigations resulted in six criminal complaints and the recovery of over $200,000.
The report highlights a case which led to criminal charges. Brian Chrisom, of Milton, defrauded the Commonwealth $85,869 in food stamps, cash assistance, and MassHealth benefits by falsifying information on five welfare eligibility forms that he was unemployed and in custody of his children. Chrisom continued his scheme for over five years. The case is pending in Boston Municipal Court.
While the majority of allegations of public assistance and personal care attendant fraud come from DTA and MassHealth, the public can also file a complaint through the BSI fraud hotline at (617) 727-6771 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All complaints are kept confidential.
Read the Bureau of Special Investigations FY 2013 second quarter report here.