Massachusetts State Auditor Uncovers $2.7 Million in Welfare Fraud

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By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

Investigators in the Massachusetts state auditor’s office looked into 1,135 cases of suspected public benefits fraud over the last three months of 2022 and identified fraud in 255 of those cases totaling $2.7 million, according to state auditor Diana DiZoglio.

The auditor last month filed a report with the Massachusetts Legislature outlining the recent work of the Bureau of Special Investigations, which occurred while Suzanne Bump, DiZoglio’s predecessor, was finishing her term. During the last quarter of 2022, investigators found $1.6 million in Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program fraud, $771,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program fraud, $283,000 in Medicaid fraud, and $7,300 in Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children fraud.

The bureau detected $13.5 million in fraud in fiscal year 2022, and $6 million in fiscal year 2021. Governor Maura Healey has proposed a big increase in the Bureau of Special Investigations budget, recommending a $2.92 million fiscal year 2024 appropriation, up from projected spending of $2.01 million this fiscal year.

The bureau’s investigative authority extends to programs administered by the state Department of Transitional Assistance, the state Department of Children and Families, and the state Division of Medical Assistance, which administers the massive MassHealth insurance program. The state Department of Early Education and Care is not included in the Bureau of Special Investigations statute, but the bureau also works with that department through a memorandum of understanding.

Bureau of Special Investigations probes can lead to fraud cases being referred to agencies for administrative action, and fraudulent overpayments may be recovered through civil agreements. Individuals found to have committed fraud may be disqualified from programs, and cases may be referred for criminal prosecution as well.


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