DHS news release
June 1, 2005
Contact: Patricia Feeny (503) 945-6955
Program contact: Clyde Saiki (503) 945-5733
The state's human services agency launches fraud reporting hot line
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has armed itself with another weapon to fight fraud in public assistance programs.
Beginning today, DHS is making it easier for people to report suspected fraud related to DHS programs including food stamps, Medicaid, Oregon Trail Card, child care services, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families by calling 1-888-FRAUD 01 (1-888-372-8301).
Clyde Saiki, the department's chief administrative officer, said DHS is stepping up its efforts to recover taxpayer dollars lost through fraud and waste.
"The public's expectations for efficiency and accountability in government have never been higher," said Saiki. "We believe this will be a very effective tool to discourage fraud. We can't afford fraudulent claims for public assistance."
He said the goal of this new reporting system is to maximize efforts toward preventing, detecting, eliminating and prosecuting fraud in the state's human services programs.
A number of other states with stop fraud initiatives, including Alaska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington, annually recover millions of taxpayer dollars.
DHS has a number of programs in place to handle fraud and financial abuse, including the Fraud Investigation Unit, which fields 16 investigators across the state in addition to a central office staff in north Salem. The unit, which receives an average of 30 fraud-related calls a day, recently produced a savings exceeding $3.4 million in a 12-month period.
Saiki said that state confidentiality laws governing most public assistance programs prohibit DHS from reporting back to callers how investigations turned out.
"But DHS is absolutely committed to eliminating fraud, and we will regularly make public reports about our efforts and also how the public's participation can help," he said.
There are more than a dozen ways that people can defraud public assistance programs, including unreported employment, income assets, or child support; a felony drug conviction; or unauthorized use of an Oregon Trail Card.