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9/28/12: County Child Care Fraud Team Identifies Subsidy Deceptions


Investigators Uncover Over $250,000 in Inappropriate Payments, Other Overgrants

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz praised the work of the Child Care Fraud Team following their detection of over $250,000 in inappropriately received Child Care Subsidies, along with overgrants in other programs, from mid-April to September, 2012. The Child Care Fraud Team, comprised of investigators and caseworkers from the Special Investigations Division of the Erie County Department of Social Services, was created after Erie County was awarded a competitive grant for this purpose from the New York Office of Children and Family Services (“OCFS”) earlier this year.  

"My administration intends to aggressively root out waste, fraud, and abuse wherever they may occur in County government, in order to protect taxpayer dollars and send a message to would-be abusers,” said Poloncarz. “I commend the Child Care Fraud Team for their hard work and diligence in pursuing these cases, and I want other abusers of the system to be on notice that they will be found and they will be prosecuted.”

The Erie County Department of Social Services, one of twenty local service districts to receive grant monies, created the Child Care Fraud team in April 2012 after receiving a one-year grant for $94,051 from OCFS. The Special Investigations Division immediately applied this funding to expand the parameters used in addressing fraud by implementing a multi-faceted anti-fraud initiative, tasking a three-person team with scrutinizing subsidies for both child care providers and clients in order to identify inappropriate payments. Over 150 Provider Audits (reviewing income reporting and capacity checks) and 450 Closed Case Reviews were conducted.

For the period of April 19 – September 4, 2012, Child Care Subsidies inappropriately received totaled $255,221.36. Overgrants in other program areas such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) and Temporary Assistance (“TA”) were also discovered during the course of investigation. Collection efforts will be made to recover inappropriately received funds. Totals for all inappropriate payments discovered are shown in the table below.

 

ChildCare Subsidy

SNAP

TA

 

 Client Total

 $166,947.46

 $6552

 $0

 $173,499.46

 Provider Total

 $88,273.90

 $13,936

 $6,592

 $108,801.90

 Overall Total

$255,221.36

 $20,488

 $6,592

 $282,301.36

The anti-fraud initiative implemented by the Child Care Fraud team consisted of 6 key components:

  • Preventing child care fraud at the outset by expanding the indicators found to be characteristic of fraud prior to approving applications.
  • Establishing routine case review protocols designed to assess ongoing eligibility for cases remaining open and cases recently closed.
  • Reducing fraudulent provider claims through reviews of Child Care Time and Attendance (“CCTA”) reporting on overcapacity and high revenue producers.
  • Improving communication between program areas such as SNAP and TA to aid in the detection and recovery of fraudulent “spin off” benefits as a result of Child Care Subsidy reviews.
  • Pursuing prompt prosecution of Child Care Subsidy Fraud through ongoing collaboration with the District Attorney’s Office.
  • Partnering with the Child Care Resource Network to promote awareness of new regulations relative to Child Care Provider Fraud.

The Special Investigations Division continues in its ongoing efforts to discover and combat public benefit fraud in all areas. Lessons learned and trends detected in the search for Child Care Subsidy Client and Provider Fraud will aid in establishing a model to guide future detection, as well as help in providing recommendations to address any systemic issues that might be identified.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/

For more information on the Child Care Resource Network, visit  http://www.wnychildren.org/