18 charged in PA welfare fraud scheme

    Eighteen people are charged in a massive welfare fraud scheme in Philadelphia. Sixteen of those named in a Grand Jury report released on Tuesday were state or city employees.

    Eighteen people are charged in a massive welfare fraud scheme in Philadelphia. Sixteen of those named in a Grand Jury report released on Tuesday were state or city employees. The group is accused of stealing almost $500,000 from the state Department of Public Welfare through programs intended to help low income residents pay their heating bills.

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    [audio: 090609lffraud.mp3]

    District Attorney Lynne Abraham says supervisors looked the other way while workers side-stepped a system of checks and balances. She says workers forged documents, falsified social security numbers and addresses, and created fictitious identities.

    Abraham: The workers went to the clerics and said we’re going to put in fake applications. For every number you put into your system, you get $50. The workers did all their own checking and verification. The supervisors did nothing. All the supervisors were interested in was get the stuff out the door as quick as possible.

    Abraham says instead of getting money to those in need, workers sent checks to themselves, and their friends and families.

    City Inspector General Amy Kurland says her office will continue to crack down on city employees who are not doing their jobs. She says the investigation continues.

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