How’s That Fraud Squad Doing? Let No One Be Exempted from Their Scrutiny
Very good editorial, entitled “Waste-and-fraud report”, in today’s Providence Journal.
Mr. Block came back with what was a first glance at the problem; he lacked the data to do a more extensive survey. But he found signs of serious fraud just below the surface — demonstrating that our elected officials and bureaucrats should better monitor the billions of dollars pumped into the system. …
The report found Food Stamp money going to dead people and more than 60 inmates in the Adult Correctional Institutions. Some recipients were selling their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, or using them for such things as “mail order gourmet meals.”
Mr. Block found that people who requested more than three replacement EBT cards over a year were much more likely than others to have prescriptions for drugs that can be easily resold on the street, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. …
The governor has organized a small fraud unit in the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, something long overdue and desperately needed.
(Side question about “replacement” EBT cards. If someone … er, “loses” their EBT card and applies for a replacement, are the benefits, however much or little remains, on the lost EBT card transferred to the new card? Or has this become an illegal but handy-dandy way to considerably amplify the benefit received because the recipient can get a brand-new, topped off EBT card?)
So. What’s happening with the Fraud Squad? Have they been given the green light and the information that they need to get to work? If not, why not? Every day that goes by that waste, abuse and abuse is not found and stopped means many tax dollars squandered, dollars that could go to genuinely necessary spending or, heaven forbid, back to the taxpayer.
One important thing to bear in mind as we sit eagerly on Fraud Watch. Whether “waste” or “abuse” or “fraud”, the core of each term, the definition is a social program benefit distributed to a recipient who does not qualify for it. The waste or abuse or fraud must be swiftly identified and terminated across the board, no matter the basis for the disqualification. There can be no exception or exemption. Not even if it leads to potential abuse of those 666 by-pass numbers at the Department of Human Services.
[Monique is Editor of the RI Taxpayer Times newsletter.]