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 $42,104.88. The suspected fraud occurred from March 16, 2007 to March 16, 2015. Welfare Fraud investigators uncovered enough evidence to allege the following:
Food Assistance: $20,958.00
Medicaid: $ 15,727.34
LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program): $981.86
Admin Costs: $ 3,923.48
Additionally, this case had several other assistance programs that were the victim of fraud and are associated with the investigation:
1. School Lunch fraud. The USDA Food and Nutrition Services/ National School Lunch Program is the victim on that portion with a total of $514.20
The total recovery for the investigation is $42,104.88 (all victims)
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 (970) 256-2421.