Does Recession Bring in More Fraud?

By: Joe Gagnon Email
By: Joe Gagnon Email

Across the nation and here in Mesa County, the Department of Social Services is seeing an increase of welfare fraud cases, and officials say it started at about the same time as the recession.

The Mesa County Department of Human Services says it hasn't seen a huge increase locally, but there certainly isn't a drop off either.

Fraud investigators at the department say they work tirelessly to investigate people abusing taxpayer money.

So far this year, they have conducted 30 investigations with 76% of them showing some level of fraud.

More importantly, those investigations recovered nearly $100,000.

The department says those who are found guilty of fraud often fail to report certain forms of income when they apply, and, of course, accept assistance they don't need.

Human Services say they had one criminal prosecution last year and they expect two to four criminal prosecutions by the end of 2009.

The department heavily relies on the public to notify them of possible welfare fraud.

If you think someone you know is involved in this type of fraud, you are asked to call the Welfare Hotline at 256–2421.

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