August 23, 2011
Mangano Cracks Down On Welfare Fraud
OVER $10 MILLION IN SAVINGS TO TAXPAYERS SINCE JANUARY 2011
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that the Department of Social Services (DSS) has achieved more than $10 million in cost savings since January 2011 through a combination of fraud investigations and civil recoveries. These savings are the result of civil recoveries from lawsuits and probate proceedings by the Liens and Recovery Unit and the identification of improperly paid welfare benefits detected by the Special Investigations Unit. Both units are part of the DSS Office of Investigations.
“My administration is committed to far-reaching fraud detection efforts that protect taxpayers and ensure that only eligible recipients receive public assistance. If you’re cheating the system, we’ll catch you and recover every single taxpayer dollar owed back to the county, state and federal government,” said County Executive Mangano.
Nassau County’s Liens and Recovery Unit tracks down Medicaid recipients who receive money from lawsuits (money which should have been used to pay their medical expenses) and when appropriate attaches a lien on any real estate holdings to make sure that Medicaid expenses are repaid if and when the property is sold. The Liens and Recovery Unit also works closely with the Surrogate’s court to identify wills and estates that may owe money to the Medicaid system for benefits paid during the recipient’s lifetime. This unit has specifically identified and recovered almost $5 million in county, state and federal taxpayer money since January 2011.
The DSS Special Investigations Unit detects and deters fraud and through both “front-end detection,” i.e., reviewing applications for benefits before they are approved, and through Quality Assurance Investigations, reviewing ongoing welfare benefits for continued accuracy, truthfulness and full-disclosure. When criminal fraud is suspected, the cases are referred to the District Attorney (DA), who is responsible for prosecuting and recovering improperly paid benefits. So far this year, the Special Investigations Unit has identified more than $5 Million in welfare benefits improperly paid, largely through a ground-breaking Child Care fraud-end detection system, and more than $430,000 has been recovered through prosecution by the DA’s office.
DSS Commissioner John Imhof stated that “anyone who tries to cheat the system in Nassau County through falsification of documentation or willful withholding of information will be uncovered by our Special Investigations Unit and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
DSS Special Investigations Unit Director Scott Skrynecki added, “Our seasoned investigators have access to a wide variety of sophisticated technological resources to make sure that only those residents who truly qualify for benefits will receive them.”
To report a case of suspected waste, fraud or abuse, please visit the county website at: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Welfare/index.html or call our toll-free hotline at (877) 711-TIPS (8477). All callers can remain anonymous.