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WSAR NEWS Archives for 2016-11

Bump on Public Benefits


Auditor Bump Focuses Efforts to Strengthen Public Benefits Programs
Announces that Her Office Identified a Record $15.4M in Public Benefits Fraud in FY16

 

Boston, MA – State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today announced an initiative to build on her office’s efforts to strengthen the Massachusetts social safety net.  

The expanded efforts will concentrate on three areas:

1.      Continuing to identify and crack down on fraud in public benefits programs;

2.       Expanding information sharing with our partners and increasing our use of data analytics to identify fraud and concentrate on the areas most susceptible to fraud; and

 

3.      Conducting an audit in the coming year to identify barriers eligible Bay State residents face when seeking access to public benefits.

To kick off this effort, Bump today released an annual report on her office’s efforts to identify fraud in these programs.

From food assistance to medical care, public benefits play an important role in our state, the lives of its residents, and our economy,” Bump said. “It is essential that these programs operate with integrity. That means fighting abuse and fraud, but it also requires that we work to identify the barriers that prohibit Massachusetts residents from accessing benefits for which they are eligible. This is why, in the coming year, we will undertake an audit to understand how effectively government is identifying those eligible persons who are not being served.

The report released today notes that in fiscal year 2016, the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) identified a record $15.4 million in public benefits fraud, marking a 12 percent increase over the previous year, and a sixth straight year of record-setting findings. In addition, the report highlights that for every dollar invested into BSI, it found $7.06 in fraud, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. Finally, the report notes that for investigations with findings of fraud, the average finding was $14,783, a 21 percent increase over the previous year.

“Since 2011, my office has increased the amount of fraud it has identified every year,” Bump said of the report. “This is not an indication of more fraud, but that we are getting better at identifying it. We have accomplished this by focusing our efforts on the areas of greatest risk for substantial fraud such as food stamp trafficking, and fraudulent provider billing.”

BSI examiners work with state and federal agencies, including the Department of Transitional Assistance, MassHealth, the Department of Early Education and Care, the US Department of Agriculture, both the US and Massachusetts Attorneys General, and other government agencies to document fraudulent activity. Investigations focus both on tips related to individual recipient fraud, as well as provider fraud. The work leads to both prosecution and recovery of funds.

The report also underscores notable achievements and case highlights of BSI. One case highlighted in the report describes a Rhode Island resident who was charged with fraudulently receiving benefits in excess of $60,000 from 2012 to 2015 from the state of Massachusetts. He falsely claimed to be a resident of the Commonwealth, and improperly reported his earned income.

While the majority of investigations of public assistance fraud come from referrals from MassHealth, the Department of Transitional Assistance, or the use of data analytics, the public can also file a complaint through the BSI fraud hotline at (617) 727-6771 or by sending an email to infoline@sao.state.ma.us. All complaints are confidential.

More information about Bump’s office’s expanded efforts related to public benefits, and her annual report on public benefits fraud are attached.

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Plainridge Numbers for October 2016


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Releases October 2016

Gross Gaming Revenue for Plainridge Park Casino

 

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) reported today that the month of October 2016 at Plainridge Park Casino generated $12,576,794.69 in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR).  The category 2 slots-parlor is taxed on 49% of gross gaming revenue, of that total taxed amount 82% is paid to Local Aid and 18% goes to the Race Horse Development Fund. To date, the state has collected $107,026,794.20 in total state taxes and race horse assessments from Plainridge Park Casino since its June 24, 2015 opening. 

 

MONTH

Slot GGR

Coin in

Hold %

Payout %

Total collected state taxes and race horse assessments

October

2016

$12,576,794.69

$174,655,386.21

7.20%

92.80%

$6,162,629.40

 

To view the complete report, please click here. MGC will continue to make monthly revenue reports available on approximately the 15th of each month.

 

 

 

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The Final Somerset Balloting Numbers


Somerset Town Clerk Dolores Berge has released the final certified balloting numbers for the November 8 General Election. 

 

Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton took Somerset by securing 4,886 votes, compared to Republican Presidential Elect Donald Trump's 4,561.

 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders earned 54 write in votes, while 208 Somerset voters left their Presidential ballots blank. 

 

Ballot Questions 1, 3 and 4 passed in Somerset while Question 2 failed. 

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A Final Report


After a year-and-a-half of research and study, the Fall River Diocese Task Force on Catholic Education has issued its Final Report, delineating its findings and recommendations for diocesan schools and the diocesan school system as a whole. Its public release will be this Friday afternoon, November 4.

A News Conference will take place on that day, Friday, November 4, at 1:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity School in Fall River during which Bishop Edgar A. da Cunha, S.D.V., will present and discuss the Final Report. He will also announce a significant gift that has been received to help fund its implementation.

The Bishop will be joined by the Fall River Diocesan Superintendent of Schools, the co-chair of the Task Force, and the co-chair of the newly appointed Implementation Team.

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If Not PAYT, Then What?


Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II tells WSAR that if some members of the City Council want to put an end to the current Pay As You Throw program for the removal of trash, and as a means to encourage recycling, then someone needs to devise a method to replace the three million in revenue from the program that is currently part of the FY 2017 Fall River Municipal Budget. 

 

Correia tells the ''WSAR Newsroom'' that the program cannot end on a whim, as the DOR would not likely allow a revenue producing enterprise to simply end; the contract with the North Carolina based Waste Zero has a 90 day out clause should the city decide to exercise it. 

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The Early Balloting Countdown


Early Balloting in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will end on Friday at 5pm, as the Secretary of State has asked that each polling place remain open till the 5pm mark.

 

If you do vote early, you'll place your ballot in a secured envelope, which you will sign and place in a ballot box; your ballot will be counted on Tuesday Night. 

In Fall River, your ballot is secured in a safe in Government Center. 

 

The Polls will be open throughout the Commonwealth on Tuesday starting at 7am.

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BKs Beacon Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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