Sweep nets dozens for fraud in obtaining public benefits

State Police Maj. Timothy Sanzi (at left) is joined by police and administration officials in outlining public benefits fraud charges against dozens of people. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

State Police round up dozens of people across Rhode Island, charging them with fraud in obtaining $469,000 in public benefits that they were ineligible to receive, because they were already the subjects of outstanding arrest warrants.

Police made 62 arrests, and said 26 others were still being sought as of Thursday morning. All had underlying arrest warrants on criminal charges ranging from shoplifting and narcotics violations to robbery and attempted murder.

“We’re holding people accountable to what they put down in public documents,” said Major Timothy Sanzi, Detective Commander of the Rhode Island State Police. “Because it’s fraud, and you’re depriving people who can get this benefit.”

The Chief of the state’s Office of Internal Audit, Dorothy Pascale said despite these arrests, which come on the heels of several dozen others over the last year, benefits fraud is not widespread in Rhode Island.

“If you’re going to lie, you’re going to lie,” Pascale said. “Right now, we can find you. We have the ability to find you and we will, and we will prosecute you.”

Pascale said the state is soliciting tips on suspect fraud through a telephone hotline: 401-574-8175, and a website: www.audits.ri.gov . She said calls can remain anonymous. There are no rewards offered for fraud cases.


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