Monday, June 13, 2016

Human Services Sends Welfare Fraud Cases to DA for Prosecution

The Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) Fraud and Recovery Unit recently sent 2 cases of suspected fraud  to the Mesa County District Attorney’s office, the combination totaling over $57,000.00.  The suspected fraud occurred from November 14, 2012 to January 31, 2016. Welfare Fraud investigators uncovered enough evidence to allege the following:

Food Assistance: $31,861.00
Medicaid: $ 19,244.70
LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program):  $955.90
Investigation Costs: $ 3,787.28

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 $1412.50

The total recovery for the combination of the investigations is $57,170.60 (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.

“Our Fraud and Recovery team takes investigating false information on public assistance applications very seriously.”  said Tracey Garchar, Executive Director for the Mesa County Department of Human Services. “Ensuring benefits go to families who are truly eligible and in need is our utmost priority” 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.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Community Leaders to Proclaim June 2016 as National Adult Protection Awareness Month

Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) receives an average of over 70 new adult protection referrals each month.  Victims of adult abuse or neglect are at-risk adults age 18 or over who are unable to protect themselves due to age or disability.  These individuals are sometimes not aware of the resources in our community and often have no one else to protect them.

 Approximately 46% of the victims are over 70 years old and are physically impaired or have some form of dementia.  The younger at-risk adult victims are persons with physical or mental disabilities.  Abuse, exploitation and neglect are caused by a member of the victim’s own family in a large percentage of cases. These residents are often vulnerable to assault, burglary, fraud and other crimes because they cannot provide for their own care and protection.

A schedule of recognition proclamations & events for June is as follows:
  • City of Grand Junction -, June 15th at 7pm, Grand Junction City Hall
  • Mesa County Public Meeting June 20th at 9am, Old Courthouse 3rd floor Chambers
  • City of Fruita –June 21st, 7pm, Fruita City Hall
  • Annual Adult Protection Awareness Luncheon-Thursday June 16, DHS Room 1060 1:30-3:00pm

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is committed to advocating for people’s rights.  Senior citizens and persons with disabilities are vital members of our families, our society, and our community.  Historically, 1 in 5 cases of adult abuse are actually reported.  Adult abuse encompasses many different types of harms and can occur in community, home or institutional settings. It is hoped that Mandatory Reporting will increase the number of referrals and provide greater safety for the older adults in our community.

For more information on suspected adult abuse and neglect please visit www.humanservices.mesacounty.us or call the Adult Protection Hotline at 248-2888, option 2.  Callers can remain anonymous if they so chose.

Register NOW for the Annual Senior Law Day