The Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit is responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of fraud, as well as the collection of overpayments. Anyone who suspects that a client is fraudulently receiving assistance should contact the unit at (719) 336-7486 ext. 174.
“Fraud” means an individual secured or attempted to secure or aided or abetted another person in securing public assistance to which the individual was not entitled by means of willful misrepresentation or intentional concealment of an essential fact. Fraud is subject to criminal action and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The three basic elements which have to be proven are:
The misrepresentation or concealment must have been deliberate and done intentionally;
The fraudulent act must have been for the express purpose of receiving or attempting to receive or obtain assistance to which the individual is not entitled;
It must be shown that, if the county department had been aware of the facts, assistance should not have been granted or should have been granted in a lesser amount.
The misrepresentation or concealment must concern a fact that would affect eligibility or payment. This includes household composition, resources, income, and any other eligibility factor.
When the county department determines that it has paid or is about to pay a recipient an assistance payment as a result of a fraudulent act, the facts used in the determination shall be reviewed with the department’s legal counsel and/or representative from the District Attorney’s office. If suspected fraud is substantiated by the available evidence, the case shall be referred to the District Attorney. All referrals to the District Attorney shall be made in writing and shall include the amount of assistance fraudulently received by the recipient.
Food Stamp offices shall be responsible for investigating any case of alleged program violation/fraud, and insuring that appropriate cases are acted upon either through administrative hearings, or by referral to a court of appropriate jurisdiction or by obtaining a “Waiver of Intentional Program Violation Hearing.”
For purposes of determining through administrative disqualification hearings whether or not a person has committed an intentional program violation, intentional program violations shall consist of having intentionally:
Made a false or misleading statement, or misrepresented, concealed or withheld facts, or
Committed any act that constitutes a violation of the Food Stamp Act, the food stamp program regulations, or any state statute relating to the use, presentation, transfer, acquisition, receipt or possession of food stamp benefits.
Individuals who have waived a hearing for intentional program violation or who have been found to have committed an intentional program violation through a state administrative intentional program violation decision shall be ineligible to participate in the food stamp or TANF program for 12 months for the first offense, 24 months for the second, and permanently for the third. Individuals who receive multiple benefits due to misrepresenting their identity or residence shall be ineligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program for a 10 year period.