Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mack passes bill to crack down on government benefits fraud

Mack passes bill to crack down on government benefits fraud
Posted: Apr 13, 2018
Categories: Front Page, Headlines
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In the efforts to continue to fight waste and fraud in state government, Rep. Sherman Mack’s (R-Albany) House Bill 88 passed the House Chambers with a vote of 61 to 37.

“This bill creates the crime of government benefits fraud for any person or entity who attempts to defraud any state department or agency administering benefits,” said Rep. Mack.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry who has a successful record in pursing government fraud in the state appreciated and recognized Rep. Mack’s efforts.

“I commend Representative Mack for taking this issue head on. He has continuously fought for legislation that respects the rule of law while fighting waste, fraud, abuse, and misuse in government,” said AG Landry.

House Bill 88 creates the crime of government benefits fraud. This specific crime is defined as any individual, who has the intention of defrauding the state or any person or entity through any government benefits program. To actively commit this crime, one must present for payment any false claim for furnishing services or merchandise, and knowingly submit false information for the purpose of obtaining greater compensation than to which he is legally entitled. The crime also includes one making false statement or fails to disclose material facts on an application for assistance, goods, or services.

“HB 88 is yet another step the Louisiana Legislature has taken to strengthen penalties against government benefit fraudsters, which will protect both our taxpayers and our most needy who rely on assistance. I am thrilled the House passed this common-sense, public safety measure; and I look forward to the Senate sending it to the Governor’s desk as quickly as possible,” said AG Landry.

The individual who commits the crime of government benefits fraud will be imprisoned for not more than five years, may be fined not more than $20,000, or both.

Government benefits include any record, voucher, payment, money, or thing of value, goods, services, rights, or privileges provided or administered by a state government entity.

“My commitment to be a good steward of taxpayer money continues,” said Rep. Mack. “The more we can eliminate fraud, the more funds can go to those who truly deserve it.”

PHOTO: Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry congratulates Rep. Sherman Mack for his efforts for passing HB 88 which criminalizes government benefits fraud.