August 17, 2012

Mangano Announces More Than $321,000 in
Welfare Fraud, Waste and Abuse Uncovered

All Cases Referred to DA’s Office for Prosecution

Brings 18-month Total of Case Referrals to $2.27 Million, of which
$1.7 Million has been Recovered in Restitution to Taxpayers

Mineola, NY - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS) Office of Investigations continues to find individuals attempting to defraud Nassau County taxpayers, most recently discovering more elaborate schemes to cheat the system out of more than $321,000.

“Despite the fact that time and time again we inform the public that those who cheat the system will be caught and prosecuted, there are those who continue to question our determination to root out fraud in public assistance programs.  I again say to those who would steal money from the neediest of our citizens: you will be caught and prosecuted, and the money you’ve stolen will be returned to our taxpayers,” said County Executive Mangano.

Some of the most recent case highlights:

  • A North Shore dentist cheated the Medicaid system out of $70,193 over the course of 10 years when she failed to report to Nassau County DSS her true income and the income of her husband as well as her ownership of a second North Shore residence worth more than $400,000 and two luxury vehicles.  In a true case of double dipping, the Nassau County investigation was the result of a referral from the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) which detected the dentist’s Medicaid benefits while reviewing her application to become a Medicaid dental provider in order to bill Medicaid for her dental services.
  • A 50-year-old woman from Suffolk County failed to inform DSS that she had moved out of her mid-Nassau home in 2007 and has been living in Suffolk County with the allegedly absent father of her child ever since.  The woman also neglected to inform DSS of the income of the “absent’ father for several years.  As a result of her fraudulent activity, the woman illegally qualified for $49,088 in Medicaid and Food Stamps benefits.
  • A 41-year-old mid-Nassau woman illegally qualified for $117,658 in tax payer funded Medicaid benefits after she concealed her true income, a property management and real estate business and a second home in Freeport worth more than $310,000.  The investigation was also the result of a referral from the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.
  • A 34-year-old woman from mid-Nassau allegedly fraudulently billed DSS for $2,269 in child care services that she claimed to have provided to a child over the course of 6-months while the child was actually attending day care center in another community. When questioned, the child’s mother said that she had never heard of the day care center and had never sent her child there.  This case is just one of many Day Care provider fraud investigations pursued by Nassau County as part of a ground-breaking program to reduce child care subsidy fraud, in cooperation with the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.  Since April 2011, Nassau DSS has identified $2.9 Million in savings in detecting child care fraud, waste and abuse alone.
  • Despite moving to her boyfriend’s Pennsylvania home in January 2012, a 51-year-old former South Shore woman continued to illegally accept $2,574 in Nassau County DSS Medicaid benefits over the course of 5-months.  When investigators found her Twitter account online they discovered a recent Tweet to a friend saying “Hi there! Follow me on twitter too! I’m living in PA w/ my boyfriend (name withheld) and am very happy. Keep in touch!” This is just another example of the DSS Investigations using the latest technology and social communications tools to detect fraud and abuse.

This latest round of case referrals to the DA’s office brings the total monetary referral since January 2011 to $2.27 million, of which $1.7 million has been returned in restitution to Nassau County taxpayers. All of these cases have been referred to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for criminal fraud prosecution, including full restitution.

To report questionable practices in programs such as Medicaid, Day Care, Food Stamps, Public Assistance and Family Health Plus, call 1-877-711-TIPS (8477).  All calls are completely confidential and callers can remain anonymous.