Health and Family Services Cabinet
CHFS Inspector General’s Welfare Fraud Investigation Yields Prison Time for Kentucky Man
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 12 2006) – A Carlisle County man has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay more than $9,000 in public assistance benefits as a result of an investigation conducted by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The Carlisle County Grand Jury indicted Scott Piet on Sept. 15, 2005, and charged him with welfare fraud for failing to report unemployment income while receiving food stamps and Medicaid benefits. Piet pled guilty on Oct. 6, 2005, but his sentence was diverted with the stipulation that he make restitution for the benefits he received illegally.
“This case illustrates just how serious the Fletcher administration and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services are about cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse. It further shows that the new methods for detecting fraud and abuse implemented during the past three years are working,” said Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell.
Seven months later, on May 6, 2006, Piet was back in court for failing to make the required restitution. Subsequently, he entered a guilty plea for failure to comply with the pre-trial diversion requirements. Piet was ordered to pay $9,145 in restitution and court costs and to serve the recommended four-year sentence.
An initial request for shock probation was denied on Sept. 21. An additional motion for shock probation was filed in early November and later denied on Nov. 16. Piet is currently lodged in the Graves County Detention Center.
Stephanie Whitaker, an investigator with OIG’s Division of Special Investigations, and the Carlisle County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office worked collaboratively to bring this perpetrator to justice.
"One of our top priorities is to detect, investigate and prevent fraud," Inspector General Robert J. Benvenuti III said. "Resources for health and welfare programs are precious, limited and in high demand; so it is crucial that we protect taxpayer money with which we’ve been entrusted. Ultimately, those who choose to commit fraud in Kentucky’s health and welfare programs are victimizing the citizens of the commonwealth by potentially depriving others who legitimately qualify from receiving much-needed assistance.”
Often fraud and abuse investigations begin with a tip from the general public. “Citizens can and do play a critical role in detecting and preventing fraud and abuse by simply reporting known or suspected fraud and abuse,” said OIG Director of Special Investigations Steve L. Brodt. “Some of our best cases are started by hotline calls.”
Examples of health and welfare programs include Medicaid; the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program; the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program; Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program/Aid to Families with Dependent Children; and the Food Stamp Program.
Welfare fraud allegations are investigated by OIG’s Division of Special of Investigations with investigators assigned throughout the commonwealth. If you suspect someone of Medicaid or welfare fraud, call the Fraud and Abuse Hotline’s toll-free number anytime at (800) 372-2970. Those reporting fraud and abuse never have to give their name.