Fraudsters cash in on Florida welfare benefits

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Afraid to lose her job if she’s identified, a Broward County woman tells her boss’ girlfriend is ripping off Florida’s welfare safety-net programs while working alongside her and being compensated off the books.

How does she know? Because her coworker is fairly open about it — even while living in a nice home and driving a respectable vehicle.

The scenario isn’t far-fetched, though it’s difficult for us to fully verify. It’s also difficult to know exactly how rampant this kind of fraud is in the Sunshine State, though it undoubtedly happens.

“Over 70 percent of the fraud that was detected in our sample was related to non-reporting or under-reporting of income,”concludes a state analysis of Florida’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

How does the Florida Department of Children and Families, responsible for determining eligibility for welfare benefits, verify income and other eligibility criteria applicants claim when they apply?

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By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog


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