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Auditor’s team finds more than $1.3m in welfare fraud

Investigators uncovered more than $1.3 million in welfare fraud over three months according to a quarterly progress report released by the State Auditor’s office today.

The fraud consisted of 246 cases of people improperly using food stamps, health care benefits, public housing, or cash assistance, the report said.

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One Lynn woman collected nearly $42,000 from the state and an additional $15,500 in federal Social Security benefits by not disclosing that her children’s father lived with her, had a job, and was eligible for health insurance, according to the report. She faces charges in Lynn District Court that include false representation to procure welfare.

The amount of fraud uncovered was not unusual for the auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigations, said Christopher Thompson, spokesman for Auditor Suzanne Bump.

With more than $5 million in fraud detected in 2012, “this is on track,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the office hopes to uncover even more cases in the future, thanks to a new team of data mining specialists that was funde by last year’s budget.

Normally, state agencies refer cases to the investigators. “With this new team of technology-driven investigators, they’ll be able to sort through mass amounts of state data,” he said, making their work more proactive.

Lauren Dezenski can be reached at lauren.dezenski@globe.com
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