Looks like everyone had an angle in this case. This LoHud.com story notes that four people have been charged with defrauding the Rockland, New York Department of Social Services out of $44,000 in public assistance.
Simply put: the alleged fraudsters, who are unrelated (except for a husband and- wife team), applied for aid they weren’t entitled to and cashed the checks. In this story, the government benefits at issue aren’t limited to one type. The individuals allegedly took different approaches to defrauding multiple government assistance programs to include Medicaid, home energy assistance, emergency safety net, and federal housing assistance. So many ways to defraud, so little time. They allegedly under-reported income, concealed home/business ownership, used false names and Social Security data, just to name a few improper acts.
The key issues here for taxpayers and agencies are the fact that $44,000 taxpayer dollars were allegedly stolen and the agency’s ability to verify the identities and information of the benefit applicants so that it isn’t ever defrauded again. So the question of the day is…if the technology exists for agencies to leverage public records to verify information on an applicant’s benefit information, why aren’t agencies using it?