July 8, 2013
MANGANO UNCOVERS MORE THAN HALF MILLION DOLLARS IN WELFARE FRAUD CASES
$3.7 Million in Taxpayer Savings Achieved in Past 20 Months
Mineola, NY - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS) Office of Investigations continues to uncover individuals attempting to defraud Nassau County taxpayers, most recently discovering 13 elaborate schemes to cheat the system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.Since April 2011, Nassau DSS has identified more than $3.7 million in savings and has referred a total of 68 cases that resulted in arrests.
County Executive Mangano stated, “Those who steal money from the neediest of our citizens will be caught, prosecuted and have jail time sought for the crimes they commit.”
The most recent cases referred for prosecution are:
- A 29-year-old Levittown man allegedly lied to DSS on his Medicaid application and re-certifications for five years in order to illegally qualify for $92,527 in medical benefits for himself, his wife and two children. A DSS investigation revealed that, despite reporting on his application that he was employed at a Mineola greeting card and smoke shop, he is the CEO/owner/operator of that store, along with another shop in Bethpage, since June 2005. Despite reporting earnings of $300 per week working in the shop, investigators learned that for three years, the man earned an average yearly income of over $80,000, which was not reported to DSS. His actual earnings cover this monthly mortgage of $4,370 on his $359,000 home and his three vehicles.
- A 38-year-old Baldwin man allegedly received Medicaid benefits in the amount of $49,673 after failing to report his accurate income. His application reflected earnings just under $15,000 a year and that his rent was $400 a month. The DSS investigation uncovered that he earned $100,000 in 2010 and $77,000 in both 2011 and 2012. While the man was collecting Medicaid benefits, he and his wife purchased a $300,000 home, with an $89,000 down payment, and claimed a $12,000 “Self-employment health insurance deduction” on their 2011 federal tax returns. This case will also be referred to the IRS for further investigation.
- A 23-year-old Freeport woman allegedly submitted fraudulent employment documents in order to collect $20,536 in day care benefits. The woman submitted employment verification forms signed by her alleged 80-year-old employer where she claimed she did laundry, cleaned the house and managed other chores. A day care worker referred her case to DSS Investigators whereby the 23 year old woman admitted that she lied on the employment verification forms and had someone forge the elderly woman’s signature.
- A 40-year-old restaurant owner from Valley Stream allegedly lied about her income and housing expenses in order to qualify for $20,696 in Medicaid benefits for herself and her daughter. Despite reporting a yearly income of $56,000 and $500 monthly rent on her Medicaid application, DSS investigators discovered that her successful Queens restaurant provided an income of more than $156,000 in 2010 and $126,000 in 2011. Based on her actual income, she was able to afford the $2,950 mortgage on her $500,000 home and $400 monthly payment on her gold Lexus SUV.
- A 30-year-old Hempstead woman forged time sheets and claimed she was attending classes at an adult learning center, as a condition of her parole, in order to illegally obtain $3,423 in Day Care services for her son.
- A 53-year-old Manhasset woman lied about her income and concealed the fact that she and her husband were living off his $480,000 IRA account in order to illegally receive $20,175 in Medicaid benefits.
- A 42-year-old Valley Stream woman lied about her supposedly absent husband in order to illegally qualify for $34,677 in Day Care services. The father of her two children claimed to live out abroad working for a political party in another country but the investigation revealed that he was in NY 65% of the time.
- A 56-year-old West Hempstead grandmother conspired with her daughter to lie about the family’s household composition in order to illegally qualify for $23,040 in Day Care benefits for her granddaughter.
- A 60-year-old Bellmore woman lied about her household composition by stating that she and her husband were separated in order to qualify for $25,343 in Medicaid benefits. Referral from NYS Office of Medicaid Inspector General.
- A 41-year-old Hempstead woman forged her sister’s name on timesheets which indicated that the sister was providing Day Care services for the woman’s children. As a result, the woman illegally received $182,793 in Medicaid, Day Care and SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits.
- A 23-year-old Elmont woman submitted forged and fraudulent time employment forms and time sheets in order to illegally receive $4,984 in Day Care services.
- A 37-year-old Jericho travel agent lied about her income, employment and household composition in order to illegally qualify for $12,166 in Medicaid benefits. Referral from NYS Office of Medicaid Inspector General.
- A 38-year-old Roosevelt woman concealed the fact that she earned income from renting rooms in the home that she owns and failed to report a $6,000 lawsuit settlement in order to illegally qualify for $16,888 in Medicaid, Cash Assistance and SNAP (Food Stamps).
All 13 cases have been referred to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for criminal fraud prosecution, including full restitution. So far in 2013, 30 cases of fraud, waste and abuse totaling more than $888,000 have been referred for prosecution.
“Public assistance programs are designed to help our communities’ most vulnerable members, and those who defraud the system stealing from every taxpayer,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “I created a Public Assistance Fraud Unit for prosecute just these kinds of cases so that our social safety net is there to lift those with true needs and to ensure those who abuse the system are caught and held accountable. I thank the County Executive and the Department of Social Service Office of Investigations for bringing these important cases which we will prosecute aggressively.”
DSS Commissioner John Imhof added, “People who attempt to defraud the system will get caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This conduct will not be tolerated in Nassau County.”
“Nassau County is committed to stamping out waste, fraud and abuse,” added DSS Director of Investigations Scott Skrynecki. “We use combination of sophisticated technology and traditional investigative techniques to detect and prevent fraud and we will continue our vigilance to protect the integrity of the public assistance system.”
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.