Press Release

Press Release  Bureau of Special Investigations Identifies Over $6 Million in Public Benefit Fraud in FY21

Report highlights notable activity surrounding BSI’s cases during the past fiscal year
For immediate release:
  • Office of the State Auditor
  • Bureau of Special Investigations

Media Contact   for Bureau of Special Investigations Identifies Over $6 Million in Public Benefit Fraud in FY21

David Todisco, Deputy Communications Director

BostonState Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) annual report for her office’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI), which investigates allegations of public benefits fraud. The report notes BSI identified $6,139,720 in public assistance fraud during the past fiscal year, down from $8,164,438 the prior fiscal year in part due to less agency referrals, backlogs, and delays in fraud calculations, all which coincided with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. During this time, BSI has continued to investigate and identify fraud in order to maintain program integrity in public assistance programs.

In FY21, BSI opened 3,224 new investigations and completed 3,404 total investigations, including those that may have been opened during previous fiscal years. Of the 3,404 total investigations, 479 identified fraud, and the average amount of fraud was $12,817.79.


Pie chart shows amount of fraud identified by referral source in FY 21


FY21 Fraud Dollars Identified by Referral Source

The report provides a series of tables and figures that show the total number of fraud instances the Bureau identified in each county.

“In Massachusetts, we recognize the value of a strong social safety net to help people put food on the table, access medical care, and more. While fraud represents a small portion of total public assistance spending, it has a disproportionate negative impact on public trust in these programs,” Bump said. “At a time when more people are relying on this assistance because of economic hardships, my office remains committed to ensuring these programs are run with integrity.”

The report highlights notable activity surrounding BSI’s cases during the year, including:

  • Multiple indictments in US District Court for theft of government benefits;
  • Active participation in federal public assistance fraud task forces, despite challenges posted by pandemic

During FY21, BSI also formed a training team to identify staff training needs; build informative trainings, presentations; and effectively lead training sessions for all BSI staff. The training team successfully created and executed a remote process to conduct civil recoveries and interviews that were previously conducted in-office only.

The Office of the State Auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigations investigates allegations of public assistance fraud throughout the Commonwealth. Its work ensures taxpayer dollars are used effectively and that benefits are available to residents who truly need and qualify for them. BSI investigates programs administered by DTA, and the Division of Medical Assistance (which administers MassHealth). In addition, BSI has an agreement with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to investigate fraud in that program as well. BSI receives referrals for investigation from its agency partners, public tips, referrals from federal agencies, and through the use of its data analytics tools. The public can report potential fraud to BSI at:

The BSI Annual Report for FY21 is available here.


Media Contact   for Bureau of Special Investigations Identifies Over $6 Million in Public Benefit Fraud in FY21

  • Office of the State Auditor 

    The Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) conducts audits, investigations, and studies to promote accountability and transparency, improve performance, and make government work better.
  • Bureau of Special Investigations 

    The Bureau of Special Investigations strengthens the social safety net in Massachusetts by investigating potential fraud in the state’s public benefit programs.
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