Targeting Welfare fraud

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Perpetrators of fraud against the county's Welfare system soon will have an investigator on their trail.

The Moffat County Social Services Department intends to increase its prosecution of fraud.

During the past year, the department prosecuted two fraud cases, and two more are pending.

Fraud isn't a huge problem in the department, Self-sufficiency Coordinator Laura Willems said at a Moffat County Commissioner meeting Tuesday. But it still is a problem that needs to be addressed, she said.

"What we want to be able to do is prevent fraud," Willems said.

The department receives incentive funds from the state for fraud cases solved by Social Services technicians. The department has about $21,000 saved from the incentives. The funds will be used to hire a contractor to investigate suspected cases of fraud.

Someone may report to Social Services that individuals claiming they have no income leave their homes every weekday at 7 a.m. That's an indication the person has a job and is being paid under the table. But the district attorney usually wants to be presented with a strong case before going to court, Willems said.

Social Services employees are prohibited from discussing specific fraud cases.

The commissioners approved Willems' request to contract hire an investigator.

In related Social Services new, the federal government recognized Social Services for its perfect record of no food stamp errors during the last fiscal year, which ran from October 2003 through September 2004.

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