KeepHealthCare.ORG – Minn. legislative auditor to investigate alleged fraud in child-care subsidy program
The Office of the Legislative Auditor is launching an investigation into allegations that child care providers are defrauding Minnesota’s publicly funded child-subsidy program.
The investigation by the Auditor’s office, which is an independent, nonpartisan arm of the Legislature, will explore the scope of the alleged fraud and the internal controls in the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which oversees the child-subsidy program.
“This is very serious,” Legislative Auditor, James Nobles, said in an interview Friday. “The allegation is that the fraud is much bigger than previously thought, and that money that’s being derived from the fraud is being used for international terrorism, which gets people’s attention.”
Nobles is responding to a television news report suggesting widespread fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP, which subsidizes the child-care expenses of nearly 30,000 low-income children per month.
The Fox 9 report alleged that Minnesota refugee families are taking suitcases full of cash on flights from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Somalia and the Middle East where terrorist groups are active.
Since the report appeared Sunday, Nobles said, several legislators reached out to his office and asked him to investigate the claims. He said the investigation could begin as early as next month, and will seek to determine the extent of the fraud within the child-subsidy program, as well as whether DHS had adequate controls to prevent it. The investigation, he said, will not explore whether any public money was used to fund terrorist groups, which he says falls within the jurisdiction of federal authorities.
The investigation could take several months, he said.