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The Lee County Department of Social Services Program Integrity Unit consists of two full-time investigators and Program Integrity Supervisor, Edward Mulnix. The investigators receive suspected welfare fraud referrals from caseworkers in the agency, anonymous calls from private citizens and referrals from other government agencies. Front – End referrals are sent to the investigators right after a person has applied for benefits if the intake worker has some unanswered questions concerning the applicant’s eligibility. Front – Ends help stop welfare fraud before it starts.

Local investigators also assist the United States Department of Agriculture when a store in the area is suspected of allowing customers to misuse their food stamp benefits, such as buying food for someone else with their EBT card or actually trafficking food stamp benefits giving the customer cash or drugs for the food stamp benefits). The USDA prosecutes the store involved, but the local county investigators handle the cases of the local food stamp clients that are involved in the investigation.

Once the welfare fraud is verified, whether it may be a local or a federal case, and depending on the amount of the overpayment and the fraud intent, the case is either handled in-house through a disqualification hearing and repayment plan or the more severe cases are handled through the local courts. Our Program Integrity Unit investigators have a very good working relationship with our local district attorney’s office and our local sheriff and police departments.

The Lee County Department of Social Services Program Integrity Unit strives daily to stop welfare fraud before it starts and to make sure every citizen that is receiving benefits through the agency is eligible to receive them. The unit does this with consideration and respect for every individual that they have contact with.

If you suspect welfare fraud by an individual or a business and would like to report it please click on the button below.


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