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​Fraud Investigation Program

BFPP operates its Fraud Investigation Program with the mission of investigating and prosecuting individuals who fraudulently received public benefits to which they were not entitled.  Pennsylvania law prohibits the fraudulent receipt of benefits and individuals who commit public benefits fraud face criminal charges, costs and fines, mandatory restitution of the illegally received public funds, and disqualification from receiving future benefits.

What is public benefits ("welfare") fraud?

Individuals receiving public benefits must provide true and correct information regarding income, resources, residence, and household composition to DHS. 

Public benefits fraud occurs when:

      • An individual provides false information about their circumstances or fails to report a change in those circumstances.
      • The individual failed to provide true and correct information to DHS with the intention of receiving benefits they wouldn't have been entitled to had DHS known their true circumstances.
      • An individual is also guilty of public benefits fraud if they aid or abet another person who receives benefits through fraudulent means.

How is public benefits fraud discovered?

Public benefits fraud can be discovered in many different ways, which can include:

      • Tips received from Pennsylvania citizens that uncover individual(s) committing public benefits fraud.
      • DHS computer system matches, which can identify unreported information, such as employment.
      • BFPP Field Investigations which uncover information that was not reported to DHS and resulted in public benefits fraud.  

When DHS receives information that a public benefits recipient failed to report information that affected their past eligibility for benefits, a DHS caseworker will calculate the amount of overpaid benefits received by the individual and forward that information to BFPP for investigation.  BFPP staff will conduct an investigation to determine if the individual in question in fact committed public benefits fraud.  If public benefits fraud occurred, BFPP staff will work with the local district attorney to file criminal charges of public benefits fraud against the individual.  Once public benefits fraud charges are filed, the case will move through the Commonwealth's court system.

Why is this important to the citizens of Pennsylvania?

The prosecution of public benefits fraud in Pennsylvania serves taxpayers by:

      • Ensuring that individuals who commit these acts are held accountable and that fraudulently received benefits are repaid to the Commonwealth, 
      • Ensuring program integrity in DHS benefit programs,
      • Providing a deterrent to individuals who may consider committing public benefits fraud cases where individual are found guilty of committing criminal public benefits fraud are publicized, 
      • Disqualifying individuals convicted of public benefits fraud from receiving future benefits for a period of time, up to a permanent disqualification, which saves the Commonwealth additional expenditures.

Recovering millions of dollars annually of public funds.