Our fraud investigators save taxpayers money
JFS fraud investigators recovered more than $324,000 from fraudulent public assistance cases last year and brought more than $63,000 in incentive money back to the county because of their good work.
With another May upon us, the county joins the rest of the state in celebrating Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month. Hamilton County's fraud investigators work 365 days a year to ensure public assistance dollars are given to only those who qualify and really need them.
|Our fraud investigation team
"As the saying goes, fraud costs all of us," said Ed Feldkamp, fraud investigations supervisor. "These are taxpayer dollars. The public demands accountability for those dollars and fraud investigators provide one more line of defense against those tax dollars being misused."
Hamilton County disbursed $193 million in food assistance last year, $29 million in cash assistance and more than $97 million in child care assistance. Individuals who mislead caseworkers or lie on an application for benefits account for a very small percentage of the funding disbursed, but the agency takes even the smallest fraud cases very seriously.
Eligibility Technician Ingrid Davenport is responsible for most of the recovered dollars from fraud cases.The agency made 425 claims all in Income Maintenance. In Child Care, David Miller and Chris Kokenge help keep a close eye on how those dollars are used. They both were involved in criminal cases this year. Feldkamp said the two groups often work together and share information.
Those identified as committing fraud are removed from the program, must repay any improperly obtained benefits, and may face criminal charges and jail time.
Individuals could be guilty of fraud for actions such as selling their food assistance card, receiving benefits in one state while living in another, receiving benefits from two states at once, or misrepresenting their income, marital status or household composition in order to receive more benefits.
Check out this catchy video we made a couple couple of years ago to draw attention to fraud.