New Jersey

Welfare Fraud Amnesty Event Backfires in New Jersey

What to Know

  • New Jersey officials will offer a pilot amnesty program for people to admit improperly receiving Medicaid benefits
  • The program follows the arrest of 26 people in Lakewood earlier this summer for welfare fraud
  • Religious leaders are backing the program, which will let participants avoid prosecution

State officials faced criticism of a program that allows residents of one New Jersey county who received unwarranted welfare benefits to withdraw without prosecution. 

Authorities had hoped Ocean County residents who would benefit from the amnesty program would attend the seminar held Tuesday night in Toms River. But the Asbury Park Press reports about three dozen people showed up and accused officials of going soft on crime. 

Resident Molly Hernon says she and other residents grilled state Comptroller Phillip Degnan on the merits of the pilot program. She says people are getting away with taxpayer money. 

The 90-day program comes after 26 Lakewood residents in June were accused of wrongfully collecting more than $2 million in public-assistance benefits. They are not eligible for the program.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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