December 27, 2011
MANGANO: $250,000 IN WELFARE FRAUD UNCOVERED;
$15 MILLION IN TOTAL COST SAVINGS ACHIEVED FOR 2011
Mineola, NY - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that in 2011 the Department of Social Services Office of Investigations uncovered an additional $250,000 in welfare fraud, for a total of $15 million in cost savings in 2011.
“Medicaid fraud is a crime against every taxpayer. In Nassau County, we are doing everything in our power to root out, deny and prosecute individuals who are not entitled to benefits or who receive benefits through criminal behavior,” said County Executive Mangano.
Among the most recent cases referred for criminal prosecution to the District Attorney’s office include the following:
- Staff from the Nassau County Attorney’s Office assigned to the Family Court reported to the Department of Social Services (DSS) that an Elmont woman, who applied for Medicaid benefits as a single mother, was actually living with her husband and benefiting from his substantial income. The DSS Office of Investigations determined that as a result of her deceit, the woman fraudulently obtained $10,407 in Medicaid benefits since 2009
- A Great Neck woman who owned a successful bakery lied on her Medicaid and Day Care applications when she reported that she only worked as cashier and waitress at the shop. As a result of her fraudulent actions, such as submitting an employment letter forged by her sister with whom she co-owned the bakery, the woman illegally qualified for $34,290 in taxpayer funded Medicaid and Day Care benefits
- An Elmont woman fraudulently obtained $66,896 in Medicaid, cash Public Assistance and Food Stamps when she lied to DSS and reported on her application that she was a single mother living alone with her 2 children. Acting on an anonymous tip, the Office of Investigations discovered that the woman in fact lived with the father of her two children in a home that he purchased in 2007 for $335,000 and that she shared in his substantial income
- A Greenvale couple lied to DSS in order to illegally obtain $14,996 in Medicaid benefits. A DSS investigation revealed that, despite the husband and wife reporting that they only worked at a Manhattan sushi restaurant and Manhasset beauty salon, respectively, the couple owned both businesses but submitted forged employment and income documents
- A supervisor in the DSS Child Support Enforcement Unit detected that a Roosevelt woman who was receiving welfare assistance in New York moved to Pennsylvania and attempted to apply for benefits there as well. The Office of Investigations determined that as a result of her deceit, the woman illegally obtained $2,390 Public Assistance benefits from Nassau County
- Another supervisor in the DSS Medicaid Unit noticed that a Valley Stream couple had grossly under-reported their income and reported it to the Office of Investigations for further review. An investigation revealed that the couple purchased their home in 2007 for $594,000, a 2008 GMC truck for $38,590, a 2011 Nissan Altima for $19,000 and earned more than $250,000 over a five-year period resulting in $38,881 in illegally obtained Medicaid benefits
- The NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) referred to DSS an allegation about a New Hyde Park couple who failed to report their income in order to qualify for Medicaid, Food Stamps and HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program). A DSS investigation revealed that the couple illegally obtained $8,684 in welfare benefits by fraudulently withholding income information
- Another OMIG referral uncovered $1,763 in fraudulent Medicaid benefits paid to a Hyattsville, Maryland doctor working at Howard University Medical Center in Washington, DC. The doctor, who earns approximately $47,000 annually, collected Medicaid benefits using a Hempstead address even though she worked full-time in Washington and under-reported her income to DSS. In addition to a criminal fraud referral, the findings in this case will be reported to the appropriate medical licensing authorities
- An Oceanside couple who own a dry-cleaning business failed to report their true income when they applied for Medicaid in 2004. As a result of their fraudulent actions, $78,606 in illegally obtained benefits was paid to the couple over an eight- year period.
“Whenever experienced staff at Social Services suspect fraud they immediately forward the information to our Office of Investigations,” said DSS Commissioner Dr. John Imhof. “Our staff works diligently to provide benefits to the truly needy and eligible residents of Nassau County. It is outrageous that individuals continue to try to cheat the system, and those who do will be caught, indicted and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“We receive tips from DSS staff, from the state OMIG and from our anonymous phone hotline and webpage complaints. Together, we will keep up the fight against Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse through information sharing, use of sophisticated technology, staying ahead of emerging fraud trends and aggressive investigations,”said DSS Director of Investigations Scott Skrynecki.
To report questionable practices in programs such as Medicaid, Day Care, Food Stamps, Public Assistance and Family Health Plus, call 1-877-711-TIPS (8477). All calls are completely confidential and callers can remain anonymous.
To learn about all the different kinds of Medicaid and welfare fraud, visit the Nassau County Department of Social Services website at: atwww.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Welfare/index.html.