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Boston — After investigations completed by the Office of the State Auditor, two men face charges of each fraudulently collecting over $12,000 in MassHealth benefits in a multiyear period by not reporting the hundreds of thousands of dollars earned through lottery winnings.
“These two individuals are exploiting the public and taking precious resources away from those most in need,” said State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
From March 2009 to December 2011, James Casey, 42 of Belmont, earned $709,417 in lottery winnings while collecting $12,157 in MassHealth benefits and $1,553 in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Casey faces charges of larceny over $250 and false representations to produce welfare. Today, Judge Raymond G. Dougan set Casey to be arraigned on June 5.
From January 2008 to December 2011, Frank Basile, 59 of Waltham, earned $316,164 in lottery winnings while collecting $16,654 in MassHealth benefits. Today Basile was charged with larceny over $250 and false representations to produce welfare. Judge Dougan released Basile on his own personal recognizance and set a pre-trial hearing for August 24.
The charges are a result of an investigation by Auditor Bump’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI), working in close partnership with MassHealth and the Department of Transitional Assistance to enhance system integrity. This represents how audits performed by the Office of the State Auditor can make government work better.
A 2006 state audit report recommended that the Lottery send the so-called “20/20 report” to BSI to aid the bureau in its fraud prevention work. The 20/20 report identifies any individual who has cashed 20 or more winning tickets totaling $20,000 or more. A December 2010 audit report revealed that the Lottery had failed to send the 20/20 reports to BSI, but starting in early 2011, under Treasurer Steve Grossman, the Lottery began providing BSI with the 20/20 reports.
BSI used the 20/20 reports to investigate whether individuals identified on those reports are receiving public benefits.
Both Casey and Basile intentionally withheld lottery winnings collected monthly from the Massachusetts State Lottery when applying for MassHealth benefits and in three separate re-applications. MassHealth regulations require benefit recipients to notify the department of any change in income within ten days of the change. Lottery winnings are considered income for the month in which they are received. From March 2009 to December 2011 Casey had lottery winnings of $5,000 or more for 34 straight months which he failed to report. From January 2008 to December 2011 Basile had lottery winnings for 39 of 48 months which he failed to report.
BSI is charged with the responsibility of investigating fraud within the Commonwealth's public assistance programs, principally those administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Medical Assistance and the Department of Social Services.