Mesa County, Co. — The Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) Fraud and Recovery Unit recently sent a suspected fraud case to the Mesa County District Attorney’s office totaling over $27,200. The suspected fraud occurred between September 2005 and April 2014. Welfare Fraud investigators uncovered enough evidence to allege $19,509 in SNAP (aka Food Stamps), $2686 in Medicaid, $414 in LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance), and $1263 in TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) benefits had been fraudulently obtained during that time period. The total restitution also includes over $3300 in administrative costs related to the investigation. Case number 2014 CR 0991.
Intentionally defrauding public assistance programs consists of falsely reporting information on an application including household composition, household resources or household income. Punishment includes repayment of benefits issued and may result in a 1-year to lifetime ban from receiving public assistance benefits and/or criminal prosecution.
“Knowingly providing false information on a public assistance application in order to receive benefits is a crime and it is something we take very seriously,” said Tracey Garchar, Executive Director for the Mesa County Department of Human Services. “These benefits are in place for people who are eligible and genuinely need them in order to help provide basic needs for their family,” added Garchar.
If you or someone you know suspects welfare fraud, please call the Mesa County Department of Human Services Welfare Fraud Hotline at 256-2421.