In Fiscal Year 2020 the Bureau of Special Investigations identified over $8.2 million in public benefit fraud.
Report Bureau of Special Investigations Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report
About the Bureau of Special Investigations
As part of the Office of the State Auditor, the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) is charged with investigating allegations of public assistance fraud throughout the Commonwealth. The diligent work of BSI examiners ensures that taxpayer dollars, which fund Massachusetts’s public benefits programs, are used effectively so that those benefits are available to residents who truly need them.
Under state law, BSI’s investigative authority extends to any assistance program administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the Department of Children and Families,1 and the Division of Medical Assistance (which administers MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program). Although the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is not included in the BSI statute, BSI works with EEC through a memorandum of understanding. As a result of BSI’s investigations, public assistance fraud cases are referred to agencies for administrative action, fraudulent overpayments are recovered through civil agreements, individuals are disqualified from programs for specified periods of time, and cases are prosecuted in state district or superior courts and the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. BSI recommends cases for prosecution based on the severity of the fraud, the intent of the perpetrator, and the possibility for the case to serve as a deterrent to future fraud.
Working under Section 17 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, BSI examiners operate from five offices across the Commonwealth. BSI consists of three separate investigative units: the Central Processing Unit, the MassHealth/DTA Unit, and the Data Analytics Unit. Each unit is headed by an assistant director who reports directly to the director of BSI. While each unit has its own specific concentration, all of the BSI units collaborate with one another, as investigations often involve more than one benefit program activity. BSI participates in joint investigations and task forces that focus on combating fraudulent activities with other state and federal agencies across the Commonwealth.
This report, as statutorily required, summarizes BSI’s work in fiscal year 2020.
1. The Department of Children and Families does not administer public assistance funding and therefore does not fall within the scope of BSI’s investigative work.