More than 100 cases of attempted fraud were uncovered in Oswego County last year, saving taxpayers more than half a million dollars.
According to Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley, the Oswego County Department of Social Services detected 117 cases of attempted fraud last year, saving county taxpayers $566,916 in avoided costs.
The cases involved attempts by people to collect benefits while living in other states, filing for duplicate benefits, not reporting income and attempting to collect benefits while in jail. In the last few weeks alone, eight people were arrested and charged with welfare fraud and grand larceny for allegedly cheating the county out of more than $35,000. "Our message to those who think that they can use these programs to steal from our taxpayers is simple -- we are watching! If you are stealing, you will be caught and you will pay," Beardsley said.
Social Services Commissioner Gregg Heffner says there are several internal systems in place at DSS to ensure benefits are issued to people who are truly entitled to receive them, and to prevent fraud. "The fraud and collections unit have been working diligently to bring money back into the Department of Social Services by pursuing prosecutions and working closely with the DA's Office and Sheriff's Office," said Cheryl Wallace, Resource Coordinator for the Department of Social Services.
To report a suspected case of social services or housing assistance fraud, contact the Investigative Unit at (315) 963-5281.