Nassau County’s Department of Social Services has recovered more than $4.8 million this year through fraud investigations and civil recoveries from lawsuits, agency officials said Tuesday.
In total, the agency has identified $10.8 million through its investigations for the first eight months of the year but more than half of those funds have yet to be recovered.
“If you’re cheating the system, we’ll catch you and recover every single taxpayer dollar owed back to the county, state and federal government,” County Executive Edward Mangano said.
In 2010, the department’s two units identified a combined $17.4 million in savings from its fraud cases and recovered more than $10 million.
Most of the recovered funds this year were identified by the county’s Liens and Recovery Unit, in part from individuals caught bilking the Medicaid system. For example, the unit investigates people involved in car accidents who receive Medicaid reimbursements for their injuries and also to get money from civil suits, said Scott Skrynecki, director of the agency’s Special Investigations Unit. To recover the Medicaid funds, the county will often attach a lien on an individual’s real estate holdings, he said.
So far in 2011, the unit has identified more than $5 million in improperly paid welfare benefits, largely through a new system focused on unlawful child care subsidies.
The agency has referred 14 cases to the Nassau County district attorney’s office for prosecution this year, including five involving child care fraud. The DA’s office has so far recovered more than $430,000 from those cases.