April 19, 2012
MANGANO ANNOUNCES DSS OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS
UNCOVERED MORE THAN $175,000 IN WELFARE FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE
All Cases Referred To the District Attorney’s Office for Prosecution
Mineola, NY - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that the Nassau County Department of Social Services Office of Investigations continues to find individuals attempting to defraud Nassau County taxpayers, most recently discovering elaborate schemes to cheat the system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The case highlights:
- Two Westbury women conspired with a child care provider to steal $4,988 from the welfare system when they signed attendance sheets indicating that their children were attending taxpayer-funded day care during a period when their children were out of town or out of the country for more than a month at a time.
- A 37-year-old woman from Westbury requested assistance from DSS to pay her rent, which she fraudulently reported was $1,850 per month. A DSS investigation revealed that the woman only paid $1,100 in rent and was pocketing the $750 difference for her personal use. In addition, she lied to DSS when she reported that her three children lived with her when in fact two of her children were living in and enrolled in school in Florida. As a result of her fraudulent activity, the woman illegally qualified for $26,166 in Food Stamps and Public Assistance benefits.
- A 35-year-old Huntington woman cheated DSS out of $15,219 in Nassau County Day Care benefits when she failed to report that she purchased a home in Suffolk County with the “absent” father of her children in January 2011. She also withheld the income of her children’s father because disclosing that income would have made the family ineligible for public assistance.
- A 51-year-old Great Neck man falsely reported that he was a part-time security guard for a retail store and falsified records to indicate that his family paid $750 in monthly rent, all in order to illegally qualify for $40,722 in Medicaid benefits. A DSS investigation revealed that the man actually owned the successful clothing store in Manhattan and owned a home in Great Neck purchased in 2006 for $856,000.
- A 52-year-old Merrick man illegally obtained $42,322 in Medicaid and Food Stamps benefits after concealing income he received from several businesses that he owned. Despite reporting that he was either unemployed or working as a day laborer at various times, a DSS investigation revealed that the man and his family owned 4 businesses, a $613,000 home in Merrick, a 2010 Cadillac and a 2011 Chevy Camaro.
- A 52-year-old Plainview woman and her husband failed to report their true income resulting in $33,618 in illegally obtained Medicaid benefits.
- A 56-year-old East Meadow man failed to disclose his true income and falsely stated that he was working part-time at a pizzeria in order to illegally qualify for $15,844 in Medicaid and Food Stamps benefits. A DSS investigation revealed that the pizzeria that the man reportedly worked for does not exist and that he is employed as an “Executive Chef” at an upscale restaurant
All of these cases have been referred to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for criminal fraud prosecution, including full restitution.
County Executive Mangano again reiterated that: “these attempts to defraud the hard working residents of Nassau County will not be tolerated. Medicaid fraud is a national disgrace and my administration will continue to do everything in our power to root out, deny and when necessary seek prosecution of individuals who are not entitled to benefits or who receive benefits through criminal behavior.”
DSS Commissioner John Imhof noted that: “Experienced staff at Social Services suspected fraud and immediately forwarded the information to our Office of Investigations. Our staff works diligently to provide benefits to the truly needy and eligible residents of Nassau County. It is outrageous and unconscionable 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.”
DSS Director of Investigations Scott Skrynecki added that: “these cases illustrate the success that comes from collaboration between Social Services staff and members of the Office of Investigations. 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.”
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.