• AG: Possibility criminal charges could result from EBT audit


    (MyFoxBoston.com) – Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley is looking into the possibility the investigation into welfare benefits being paid out to over 1,000 dead people could result in criminal charges.

    Coakley says while she hasn't seen the auditor's report, which revealed the state has handed out $2.5 million in welfare benefits to 1,164 people who were either dead or using a deceased person's Social Security number, the potential for criminal charges is something she would review.

    One person was issued 127 EBT cards.

    "There are a variety of charges that could come out of circumstances like this, just including simple larceny or theft. You're not entitled to use benefits from somebody else, whether they're living or dead. Certainly it's a fraud on the Commonwealth," Coakley said.

    The report shows the EBT cards were used to either make store purchases or take out cash from an ATM.

    FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti spoke with the acting Head of the Dept. of Transitional Assistance Tuesday night who said the agency is in the process of fixing some of those problems. The department has put together a plan to end the abuse and make sure benefits go to those who should get them.

    Sen. President Therese Murray says she is working on a bill which would go even further. She calls in comprehensive, but would not say exactly what is in it.

    "It closes loopholes, revisits some of the sanctions, and some of the waivers that have been given that shouldn't be given," Murray said.

    Murray did say she believes the new interim DTA commissioner is doing a good job of dealing with a lot of the issues highlighted in the report.

    RELATED: Audit: 1,164 cases where dead people received welfare

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