NEWTON, Mass. - Welfare is supposed to help people get back on their feet, but some people are abusing your tax dollars.
In fact, welfare fraud is up 44 percent in Massachusetts in the past year.
FOX25's Crystal Haynes discovered one case involving a businessman, and the fraud he's accused of is pretty outrageous.
Marc Lederman not only owns or is a partner in a number of businesses, he lives in a house in Newton Center previously assessed for almost a million dollars.
So why was he collecting welfare benefits?
A woman at Lederman's home would not answer questions, but State Auditor Suzanne Bump did.
A recent review of the Massachusetts welfare system by her office uncovered almost $14 million in Medicare and snap benefit fraud.
Lederman's case is mentioned in her report as a prime example.
"There is a good deal of fraud that is occurring in the programs that folks are relying on as part of our social safety net,” bump said.
Investigators found Lederman had received more than $13,000 in benefits in 2008 and 2009, after reporting an income of just $400 a week.
According to this sworn affidavit obtained by FOX25, Lederman had income from several companies he owned or is a partner of at that time.
In 2008, he reported an income of more than $85,000 and almost $70,000 in 2009.
Lederman was arraigned in Chelsea District Court last year and FOX25 has learned he's since paid $10,000 in restitution to the state.
At Lederman's primary business, Lederman Engineering, a woman who identified herself as an employee said “I can’t comment, I have no idea.”
The nearly $14 million in fraud uncovered by the Auditor's Bureau of Special Investigations is a 44 percent increase over last year.
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