GRAND JURY: $500 MILLION IN FRAUD CHILD-CARE PROGRAMS CALLED `ATMS FOR THIEVES' IN REPORT.Byline: TROY ANDERSON Staff Writer
Calling Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County child-care programs an ``ATM for thieves,'' the county grand jury on Thursday said welfare recipients and their friends and relatives are defrauding taxpayers of $500 million a year, much more than previously estimated.
Failure of the county Department of Public Social Services social services
welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs
social services npl → servicios mpl sociales to verify that welfare-to-work recipients qualify for child care has resulted in about half of the $1.1 billion CalWORKS child-care program being lost to fraud, jurors wrote in their report.
``Widespread abuse ... has created a program culture that encourages fraud by parents, child care providers and agency employees,'' the report said.
District Attorney Steve Cooley Stephen Lawrence ("Steve") Cooley (born May 1, 1947 in Los Angeles, California) is a veteran prosecutor who was elected as Los Angeles County's 36th District Attorney on November 7, 2000. He was sworn in for his second term on December 6, 2004. , who was formerly head deputy of the Welfare Fraud Division, said he had brought the issue -- as well as other problems -- to the attention of previous grand juries and officials but they showed little interest.
``The Board of Supervisors should act immediately,'' Cooley said. ``The state Legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
``They are all good about giving money away, but they are very, very poor about protecting the taxpayers' interest and they are basically causing a transfer of wealth to individuals who don't need and aren't receiving services.''
Tony Bell, spokesman for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich Michael Dennis Antonovich (born 1939 in Los Angeles, California) is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing the Fifth District, which covers northern Los Angeles County, the Antelope, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, and parts of the San Fernando and San , said the supervisor will introduce a motion Wednesday seeking a full report from the DPSS DPSS Diode-Pumped Solid-State (laser)
DPSS Department of Public Social Services
DPSS Distributed-Parallel Storage System
DPSS Datapath Synthesis System
DPSS Data Processing Subsystem
DPSS Digital Precision Strike Suite on what it will do to follow the grand jury's recommendation that the agency verify that welfare recipients' children are actually being cared for while they are at work.
``This is an affront af·front
tr.v. af·front·ed, af·front·ing, af·fronts
1. To insult intentionally, especially openly. See Synonyms at offend.
a. To meet defiantly; confront.
b. to the taxpayer,'' Bell said. ``It's unconscionable Unusually harsh and shocking to the conscience; that which is so grossly unfair that a court will proscribe it.
When a court uses the word unconscionable to describe conduct, it means that the conduct does not conform to the dictates of conscience. and criminal. We want to ensure that the department is working vigilantly to detect and prevent this type of abuse.''
But Phil Ansell, director of program and policy at the DPSS, said the jurors' study cannot be used to draw conclusions about child-care fraud because it was not specifically a fraud study.
He also noted that lawmakers estimated the amount of fraud at 1 percent to 7 percent.
In 1998, Cooley briefed the grand jury about people driving expensive cars, going on expensive foreign vacations, living in luxurious homes and, in some cases, possessing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and running unreported cash businesses -- all while collecting welfare.
The grand jury made a series of recommendations, which the Board of Supervisors adopted. This included a home-visitation program.
In 1999-2000, the grand jury found that the DPSS was resistant to change and many previous recommendations had not been implemented. The jury called on the board to place a higher priority on oversight of the DPSS.
DPSS then adopted a home-visitation program with limited success, finding fraud in about 5 percent of cases while a similar program in San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. finds fraud in more than 20 percent of cases.
The scam (SCSI Configured AutoMatically) A subset of Plug and Play that allows SCSI IDs to be changed by software rather than by flipping switches or changing jumpers. Both the SCSI host adapter and peripheral must support SCAM. See SCSI. typically involves welfare-to-work recipients who fabricate employers or exaggerate work hours to qualify for child care. Then they split the money with friends and relatives who claim to be caring for the children.
Some parents in the welfare-to-work program earn very little income -- a few hundred dollars per month -- but are reimbursed thousands of dollars per month for miles driven and child-care expenses, grand jurors wrote.
Jurors also noted that the same person who is paid to provide child-care services might also receive pay as an in-home careworker.
``A CalWORKS participant/parent could be employed to provide IHSS IHSS idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis.
IHSS Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis, now known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, see there services to the same person providing their child care,'' jurors wrote. ``There is no cross check.''
Between September 2004 and February 2006, jurors wrote that 49 people cheated the child-care program of $3.4 million and were prosecuted.
Currently, more than 800 child-care fraud investigations are under way, but jurors wrote that DPSS personnel have inadequate training to detect fraud.
The grand jury made 18 recommendations that call for random and unannounced visits at least once every 90 days to child-care sites to verify the children's presence, the acceptance of only original documents and daily parental sign-in and sign-out sheets.
David Sommers, spokesman for Supervisor Don Knabe Donald R. Knabe (born October 15, 1943 in Illinois) is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, serving the Fourth District, a crescent shaped district that covers the coastline from Marina Del Rey southward to Long Beach, and southeastern Los Angeles County to , said a portion of the program is administered by the state and has no fraud monitoring program. Sommers said Knabe sponsored Senate Bill 1421 that would have started a pilot project in the county to identify the best strategies for combatting child-care fraud, but it died in committee recently after lawmakers balked balk
v. balked, balk·ing, balks
1. To stop short and refuse to go on: The horse balked at the jump.
2. at funding the program.
``The state needs to become aware that there are ways to combat child- care fraud for the money they are putting into the system,'' Sommers said.