Why won't the state fight EBT fraud?
Feb 6, 2013|
Rep. Shaunna D'connell wants to stop the abuse, but it isn't easy.
Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.
You know that story that came out -- just or recently about overpaying food stamp recipients to the tune of nearly 27 million dollars. Well guess what. After that they need to be found out the error the glitch. They pay 27 million dollars they overpaid point seven million dollars to people on food stamps. They then shelled out over time money. To staffers at the department of transitional assistance to fix the blunder. So not only did he spent 27 million they shouldn't they then compensated their people with overtime. We have state representative. Sean O'Connell on to talk about this and so much more. Represented of O'Connell welcome back to the corner report. -- -- It did this is this like a scandal they. Really honestly played in a scandal week it's a scandal today and so you apparently you're leading the charge on this issue. And represented of O'Connell what have you heard about this latest gaffe. Well up up slightly up at what has transpired over the past couple of weeks isn't enough to have the legislature take some action today that guard helps taxpayers. And -- let it stay out is that. Not only resulted in overtime and I don't know if you saw the memo that went out about the overtime but it's dead I'm pleased to offer you overtime. I don't think it's taxpayer that we offer over time. Least I'm out for you really is. And I let it go south we're trying to find out what the numbers on the overtime that was handed out. And there's also a fine associated with all of this from my understanding and we're trying to find out what the finalized as well. I agree with up with a point four million dollars but I cannot confirm that this points. Pocono when you say a fine fine towards school. Oh I'm gonna federal government because you know I already did that happen it's because the department of transitional assistance once again. We're not complying with the law. -- not follow your rules and was not doing all we are recertification. People aren't boot camp like they're required to deal. Every year. And gathered -- on the upside by his side bar and. So were out 27 million because we were overpaid we've got a 24 million dollar fine on top of that maybe. And we've got over time that we've been painted these staffers at the welfare department to fix their original blunder which -- so far have not told us how much it costs. This thing is going to be a bonanza. This is gonna cost -- a bomb. In Alex's and then I keep Fannie hybrid plant for two years that we have got me enormous problems in this department. These are obsessed with tip of the iceberg there is way more going on here we've got to get into the department -- -- part. And put it back to gather. And as you know I've been working -- -- Russell Holmes. Our democratic rep from Boston on this issue was so it is so it is a bipartisan issue except supports the change on both sides there. And we need to take them actually do it and got struck so close that I haven't built filed today. Or an amendment filed today to take -- responsibility. For. Fraud detection and prevention away from the department of transitional assistance and put it under the office of the inspector general who. This came out of court did a good job of finding it and if somebody who at least is doing its job. So which are basically saying in your amendment is take this oversight for fraud prevention. And detection of welfare abuse away from the welfare department and give it to somebody would genuine independence. Like the inspector general. That's right get it right now we've got the fox guarding them enough. Bta doing their own investigations it's a joke we know they're not doing them we know they have no interest whatsoever in preventing. Fraud and abuse that the taxpayer dollars they should not have oversight of their own agency enough -- happening right now. So -- congress represented in O'Connell if it correct me if I'm wrong. Here's what I'm seeing now over the last couple of weeks we have in 191000 people welfare recipients unaccounted for. We have 27 million dollars being overpaid to people on food stamps. We have 25 million dollars in welfare money that may have gone to recipients were not eligible. This skit you we have one example after example after example of corruption fraud and abuse. When is the governor when are the Democrats. Gonna get serious about welfare reform. Well I'm not serve the governor have a -- but I believe that my colleagues -- -- legislature are serious about it. And now hopefully we're gonna have a vote today on -- amendments and you get something done about it we can't continue to wait it's always a wait everything up there at -- trying to slow it like to take its time. I don't attacked paid out there want to wait another six months or year. Did you study sister chain to move this. That's fraud detection over to the IG's office. It's really not rocket science. To move over there we can do this and it's the right thing to do that we should you know I I'm hopeful -- -- do it today. Do you think you have the votes. You know I'd I don't know what I do -- to -- Richard I know I know I have the support but there's that's that's a whole different. Issue from having the vote. People are. Finally don't always vote the way they would like to. And I hope that -- be able to do that today you know their support for it and there's a lot of good people in the legislature that wanna see some change in -- welfare department and wanna see it now. You know it is it's urgent it's urgent at this point we can't continue to wasting any of the united taxpayer dollars. We're talking with state representative Sean O'Connell. Represented -- O'Connell I want you to name any names because I understand you have to work with these people on Beacon Hill. But when you say. Privately they'd like to vote for this kind of an amendment they realize there's a serious problem with the welfare department. But they're not able to vote on it publicly why not. Well you know. Inconvenient and difficult outsource. When you're out there and when you know you've got one a group first people I say let's wait let's it was states. You can sound reasonable and you know people have to make their own decisions about what they need to deal. But some people think it's reasonable I personally think we need to do something right now I think we are the positions they do something right now. That representative O'Connell is the elephant in the room that's for many up on Beacon Hill they see welfare recipients as voters. Has their beneficiaries. And so if you go after welfare fraud you're basically biting the hand that feeds you or the voter that feeds you. Well you know I'm not sure I could say that about the people that work without. We got a lot of support Russell can't -- on the bill let it build that we files. Two. Put in front end of intense. Verification for anybody to get to -- taxpayer dollars. And we had a lot of legislators -- that they go over forty legislators. That's a very it's fine to me that people are serious and they want to take to actually get something done. Final questions they represented of O'Connell. If you look at all the welfare abuse at the food stamps the welfare might mean welfare families disappearing. You add up all of the EBT fraud everything we've been finding out. Do you think there is enough. Waste fraud and abuse misuse and miss spending. Of taxpayer dollars. That we could run our state if we cleaned all this up without raising taxes. Oh I think so because it's not just this program I mean we've got the -- health program. You know we've got those big cash and the food stamp program is planning a public assistance program. And you know we outbreak now why -- eight people are receiving some kind of public assistance and Massachusetts. And how many people should not be receiving public assistance I think that number is astronomical. We are we are giving away millions are you going to taxpayer dollars. And at a time when people are hurting when we don't -- My need to be giving away people are buckling down on their own budgets and -- at the governor. Want to raise our taxes by two billion dollars. It's a completely outraged. There we have when he every -- which you may not just in -- but in other wasteful state spending state issue. Credit cards to different agencies like being that you ask. Systems university of Massachusetts state -- your credit card. I'm about 3600. Some of them have -- of 5000 dollars a month. That they can stand when you look at. Hopefully I of their I mean there's so much out there that we can rein in spending an -- spending. And we just need to take the accident to do it I've got something files without its well. So there's plenty of money out there that we can say for the taxpayers without raising their taxes. We have been talking with state representative Sean O'Connell. She comes from and represents. The great district of content. Represented of O'Connell thank you so much for coming on the -- report. They think you're talking about to appreciate it. Thank you so much 6172666868. Is the number what do you make of the latest scandal. And is it time to have an inspector general have permanent oversight. Over the welfare department I wanna hear from you. Jeff corner on the corner report. -- --