State Auditor Diana DiZoglio Wednesday released her first annual fraud report, pointing out $12.3 million in public assistance fraud through last June and other findings.
DiZoglio’s office of Bureau of Special Investigations annual report summarizes investigations of fraud, abuse and illegal acts involving public assistance benefits throughout the state. This year, the bureau completed 5,100 fraud investigations, a 40.8% increase from the prior fiscal year.
“For many residents across the state, public benefit programs provide access to everyday essential items—such as food and medical supplies. It is through the efforts of our fraud examiners that we continue to help ensure public benefit programs operate with transparency, accountability and equity,” said DiZoglio. “Our office will continue to work to ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively and that resources are available to those who truly need and qualify for them.”
The report highlights the office’s Central Processing Unit received 8,643 new referrals for investigation and processed, analyzed and reviewed 5,552 referrals; Fraud Investigations Unit completed 981 cases, which contributed to identifying fraud totaling $9.6 million in 756 cases; and the Data Analytics Unit made 401 referrals. The majority of these alleged personal care attendants failed to accurately disclose their incomes to the Department of Transitional Assistance and MassHealth agencies, as required, while receiving public assistance benefits.
The Bureau of Special Investigations investigates programs administered by Transitional Assistance and the Division of Medical Assistance, which administers MassHealth. In addition, the bureau has an agreement with the Department of Early Education and Care to investigate fraud in that program. It receives referrals for investigation from its agency partners, public tips, referrals from federal agencies and through the use of its data analytics tools. The public can report potential fraud online.
DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat, has been pushing to also audit the state legislature.