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Courts and Crime

Maine DHHS Uncovered $1.2 Million in Welfare Benefits Theft in 2015

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine fraud unit has released data regarding welfare benefits theft in 2015.

The Portland Press Herald reports the state Department of Health and Human Services' Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit issued a statement Wednesday saying it uncovered the theft of more than $1.2 million in welfare benefits last year.

The release stated that a record 105 welfare fraud cases were brought by investigators to the Attorney General's Office.

In 2014, a total of 81 cases were prosecuted. The number of prosecuted cases has climbed each year since there were none in 2009.

Unauthorized use of EBT cards, falsified documents, and lying about income were among the crimes discovered by the unit.

Officials say the number of Maine residents receiving assistance has dropped over the last five years.