December 20, 2011
Maragos: County Office of Investigations Is Effectively Weeding Out Medicaid and Social Services Fraud
Over $4.9 million in Possible Fraud Found since 2009
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his follow up audit of the Nassau County Department of Social Services Office of Investigations (“OI”) which found the department had become very effective in investigating and identifying fraud in Medicaid and social assistance programs. The OI department ranks as one of the most effective in New York State and was successful in identifying and referring up to $4.9 million for prosecution during 2009 and 2010. This represents a significant improvement for the OI over the Comptroller’s last audit in 2004 which had discovered numerous shortcomings and few prosecutions.
"It is not often that we find significant improvements in government efficiencies,” Comptroller Maragos said. “The Department of Social Services deserves credit for the numerous improvements they have instituted to protect tax payer money and cut down on fraud. We are pleased to find the Department vigilant against those committing fraud.”
During 2009 and 2010, the Department referred approximately $3.8 million in fraud cases to the District Attorney’s Office and an additional $1.1 million in suspected fraud cases to the NY State Medicaid Inspector General.
The Comptroller’s audit found that significant organizational improvements had been implemented since the prior 2004 audit. The Office of Investigations is now under the supervision of an attorney with over four years of welfare fraud experience who was also a federal law enforcement official in the Department of Homeland Security. All staff is adequately trained. The Department also has an effective public outreach initiative with a website which describes the types of welfare fraud, a hotline to report suspected fraud, as well as posters asking the public to report suspected fraud.
"The improved results of the Department of Social Services sends a clear message that Nassau County is here to assist those who legitimately need help,” Comptroller Maragos added. “Those who try and cheat the system will be referred for prosecution.”