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Petty Fraud Uncovered
April 16, 2010 permalink
According to the Belleville Intelligencer, investigators in Hastings County Ontario are protecting the taxpayers against fraud in social assistance, housing and child-care services. A team of four investigators found $127,000 in overpayments in one year. The province paid the team $194,000 for wages and mileage. Deputy director of social services Steve Gatward said: "Typical cases of overpayments are due to factors such as unreported income, or claimants living somewhere other than reported."
The investigators are finding trifles because they are not looking at the real fraud. It is not from welfare moms making claims while working part-time. The big one is making claims on appropriated funds for unnecessary services. When, as in most cases, a child could be safely returned to mom and dad, keeping the child is a fraud against the appropriation. Likewise, if a parent tries to take a child from school to begin homeschooling, it decreases the burden on the taxpayers, but the schools and social service system will fight hard to keep the child in school, maintaining the flow of unnecessary funds from the taxpayers.
It is ironic that the article deals with Hastings. Based on the number of complaints, this children's aid is now a hotspot for unnecessary child removal, and consequent fraudulent claims on tax funds. Here are links to past articles on this aggressive CAS: August 30, 2007 , October 1, 2007 , March 13, 2008 , March 17, 2008 , April 30, 2008 , September 17, 2008 , October 11, 2008 , January 10, 2009 , June 23, 2009 , September 4, 2009 , September 11, 2009 , February 28, 2010 .
Investigators keep fraud to a minimum, says official HASTINGS COUNTY
The presence of investigators in Hastings County is helping keep social assistance, housing and child-care services fraud to a minimum, say officials.
Deputy director of social services Steve Gatward told the Hastings-Quinte joint social services committee there were 569 investigations in 2009 and $127,000 in overpayments were identified.
In the last five years, that number totalled about $1 million.
With a $30-million annual budget, that means less than one per cent of people collecting benefits have been identified as defrauding the system.
Marmora and Lake Reeve Terry Clemens, who had requested a report on the numbers, said the results were not bad.
"Any overpayment is bad, but about half a per cent, it's not like an epidemic," Clemens said.
Gatward said there are four investigators, all former police officers, who look into alleged claims of fraud for the county. Investigations are initiated by calls to a toll-free number or internally by staff.
In 2005, there were 841 investigations conducted and the number has dropped each subsequent year.
The $127,000 in overpayment last year was the lowest in the five-year period.
Gatward said he believes the decrease is due to the esence of the fraud control unit and public awareness.
"The fraud unit has been very valuable over the years," Gatward said. "I think that small percentage is attributable to the presence of the unit."
Last year the county paid $194,000 for wages and mileage to investigators, a cost currently funded by the province. Director of social services Eric Fry said next year that will change to a 50/50 cost sharing between the province and the county.
Gatward said typical cases of overpayments are due to factors such as unreported income, or claimants living somewhere other than reported.
Source: Belleville Intelligencer