DSS flood-related food stamp fraud highest in Greenville Co. says audit

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A random audit of flood-related food stamp benefits stemming from October’s historic flooding found nearly 70 cases of fraud in Greenville County. Now, 68 people owe the federal government more than 32,000 dollars.

Greenville County was one of 24 South Carolina counties declared eligible for individual assistance in the October 2015 Presidential Disaster Declaration.

According to the Department of Social Services, to be eligible for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP), applicants had to reside in a disaster area, purchase or plan to purchase food during the disaster period and experience an adverse effect due to the disaster. DSS said this includes “unreimbursed disaster-related expenses, unreimbursed loss of income and inaccessible liquid resources.”

Out of the 209,927 statewide DSNAP applications, DSS reviewed 9,029 random applications.

DSS Spokeswoman, Karen Wingo, explained that ratios of reviewed applications were higher from Greenville County due to the “higher percentage of cases in counties that suffered comparable less damage than other counties.”

“DSS reviewed a higher percentage of approved applications in Greenville and Greenwood counties than it did in Richland or Charleston counties based on the presumption that incidences of fraud are likely higher in those counties that suffered less damage as a result of the historic flooding,” Wingo said, via email.

Wingo said, statewide, the Department established $142,055 in claims resulting from Intentional Program Violations(IPVs), or “fraud.”

In Greenville County, 68 IPV’s resulted in $32,373 of fraudulent claims. In Spartanburg County, they found 37 IPVs totaling $17,697.

“If the client does not pay in full or make arrangements for monthly repayment, it will be sent to the Treasurer Offset Program where the debt will be recovered through tax intercept,” said Wingo.

If the money is still not reclaimed, Wingo said people may face prosecution in magistrate’s court.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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