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Mekeland co-authors bill to help root out fraud in public programs

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

ST. PAUL – House Republicans have unveiled a comprehensive proposal to crack down on fraud in Minnesota’s public programs, with an emphasis on the Child Care Assistance Program.

The legislative package is in response to a report from the nonpartisan legislative auditor that found fraud within Minnesota’s Childcare Assistance Program to be widespread and pervasive.

Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, is co-authoring H.F. 2694 with fraud prevention provided, theft penalties established, early learning scholarship eligibility modified, reporting required and money appropriated.

“Fraud in child care and other programs is simply unacceptable,” Mekeland said. “It is clear agency leadership has failed to provide adequate oversight, so the House is working to put up some guard rails to help prevent this concerning trend from continuing. We owe it to our taxpayers to do better and this package would be a step in the right direction.”

The proposal has five key goals:

  1. Increased consequences for committing fraud: Increased penalties and consequences for committing fraud to send a strong message to fraudsters that the state will not tolerate this criminal behavior.
  2. Provider controls: Provide better controls on the front end to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place.
  3. Investigations and prosecutions: Give additional tools to investigators to aid in their investigations, and to prosecutors to ensure fraudsters are brought to justice.
  4. Eligibility reforms: Eliminate eligibility for those found to have committed fraud, require enhanced eligibility checks from the Department of Human Services, and direct savings from eligibility checks to the Health Care Access Fund.
  5. Oversight: Make the Office of Inspector General become an independent entity as recommended by the legislative auditor.


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