PA Inspector General Bruce Beemer

Newsmaker Interviews
Thursday, September 21st

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Months ago we had the inspector general of the state of Pennsylvania on her show Bruce beat her. And now he returns and we are grateful for that Ted good morning mr. inspector general how are you. I'm great good morning sir are you. I am and I conduct the formalities because we know you're one of us writes in which we can be cashed on it that. Because you have roots in in northeastern Pennsylvania and we're happy about that. Do I grew up in clarks summit sessions went into the right Playskool and the university's graduate so very. Very much a part of northeastern PA. Now the other day. There was some of great history for your office and I don't know awful lot of people are aware of what happens I'd like did too. Explain it and a lot of us were probably under the impression that you had. Kind of an established office and nothing good happened to take it away but according to the what the state codes that wasn't true. The all this was created by a what's called executive order are under governor Casey of 1987. And the purpose was to. Do examinations and root out waste fraud and abuse in the operations of the state agencies and in Pennsylvania government hand. In 1994. They see added. The responsibility to investigate and root out welfare fraud and related crimes and abuse and the problem was there at the executive order which had been re upped by every governor. Sense including governor wolf. And kept the agency intact was that it. Because it was created by executive order had limited power and afford it and the legislature had created a piece of legislation which is. Sit since become known as Jack 29 of 2017. Which created the office statutorily. And it was it was really a great thing to behold particular and ignorance. Going on an air spurred the difficulty getting a budget and other types of things that. It was a very bipartisan piece of legislation that was endorsed by the governor and signed into law in July. And it took effect on September 18 which was this. Past Monday and it does. A number of really important things for our offer split. The inspector general did not have previously. It creates the agency is day. What's called a limited law enforcement agency to investigate specific crimes under the crimes code. And that's a really really important thing for. For our agents and for our investigators who I know a lot of people off and smear and in northeastern Pennsylvania and other places Smeal what are we doing about trying to combat such things as. Food stamp trafficking people unlawfully using those those who stands for things other than that food in the air and the items for which their intended. What are we doing about trying to combat curb welfare fraud and some of the other types of fraud that we see around the state regarding. Long term health care issues and subsidized daycare issues and those types of things. And you know now I can tell them you know we've we've been created is that it law enforcement agency we now have certain powers and authority to do very. Also more complex investigations. We can issue search warrants in issued subpoenas. So we can. Now coordinate ways with the other law enforcement agencies that we weren't able to do so to really important thing. And it was a piece of legislation introduced by senator Ryan all men from down near Lancaster and I think it's is that there's a bill it's gonna really. Help the agency. Help Pennsylvania. Combat in curb fraud. And hopefully return a lot of money. For the coffers. The Pennsylvania general fund that is what that we're are there before. So we know that it be before this was all done your office was. Good active moving on investigations. And on the move announcing the results which you have on you on your web site many many times of of what you've found. In terms of a welfare fraud and you seem to do this on kind of like a monthly basis she put out a missive about says. What what people done and people are charged you know 73 years 66 or 68. In in May. How will this change for instance in those kind of investigations how will this give you more leverage to move. To investigate let's say yeah food stamp trafficking and. Right and that's that's a great question and I think what little wasted that. That do things will change for us it is who you know I'm I'm really committed. Particularly and in certain areas of Pennsylvania to holding accountable. Those recreate in an example for food and food stamp trafficking those that create any. Demand. For those items in other words we've got in individual often mirror our. Or. And they are going to vendors too low old stores and other locations that. And accepts. The food stamp. Items that they are called EB peak or its peak that take those PBP cards. They get the pin number which is all you need to convert that into an actual real followers. From the person who wants to sell it if they say they have a hundred dollars worth of we'll stopped they can up purchase on and you BT corn ball solid for fifty dollars to get a cash from the vendor. The vendor then has a hundred dollars they can use to purchase things on the around that they're not entitled to the label we had to pay out fifty dollars. We want to do investigations and it really go part of getting those people that are that are preying on. Paying creating a demand to traffic in these food stamps and the way you do that or you're able to do traditional. Law enforcement investigations which we really weren't able to do before my use undercover at the individuals she could use. Q other types of surreptitious. Things to try to obtain evidence and we we just were not able to do any of those banks and that was holding us back and away and we're really looking at it being as aggressive as we can. And holding folk folks accountable that are profiting. Sometimes in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars of wealth Pennsylvania money that supposed to go. Individuals but it needed spoke to go to children that are hungry and that that just that and it hasn't been happening in certain instances that were really looking. At taking you know way he's very aggressive or approach picnic going after folks that are going to be using food stamps and others. Other items as a way to profit as opposed to you know waited that it. Believe it's meant to be intended. And a recent announcement of which was put out last week you talked about a bunch of individuals. Who have been net charged. In a public assistance fraud. A lot of visit is that the snap program men and some bit. Is. A couple of different things but how does. Medical assistance of fraud get uncovered and it does that take. Somebody just say this doesn't look great how does that work. Hate it think it could take a couple of dumb variety of forms what locals away when. With medical assistance that we we see quite often it is. A you won't get any. We have tip line that we utilized. Hand. We saw mobile call in and say we we know somebody is. For example. Lol you know not being truthful ones statements are making about a need to obtain medical assistance they or. Defrauding. The our government sort of speak in what they're doing and we collide we will investigate. That information often times speak to. Nursing home providers we will grow we will speak to. Individuals in the family to try to figure out whether or not this isn't in fact the case and we receive it so over and over again unfortunately it's a very common thing where. Well folks are you able to obtain medical assistance benefits when they I there are not entitled to total a lot of the benefits where they're actually engaged in a complete defrauding. On the and they shouldn't be entitled to any benefits at all sorts it's a very it's very. Unfortunately a more common problem and he didn't that you might think. And we don't we shall see. Situations where we have long term care providers who were not. Always. He's providing the appropriate documentation and may be submitting. Items that are. Not accurate or falsified in order to obtain Medicaid or other types of payments that they might that be entitled to get. For servicers that they never actually rendered and so we. We work quite a bit on those types of that that type of fraud and more hopeful to partner now that we're gonna have a full law enforcement designation to partner with. Agencies such as the attorney general's office in the United States attorney's offices or in horror and the relevant are expected there is about really going after some of this. And an aggressive way and you know electric and trying to get. Not only hold these folks accountable to recover money for the coddle but it's not being spent correctly. RA and that's my group it leads me to my next question I mean we see in the the headline on the piece from last week that tell all these folks have been charged and that the the commonwealth was owed. In this particular instance. Of an investigation of 73 people between July 1 in July 31 that you found. That to 281500. Dollars in restitution. Is soda Bruce's sounds like a lot of money do we really ever see it. We we do so and it's it's it's important to note that it. We recover I'll buy outs. Ninety million dollars or or keep about ninety million dollars a year typically dispute the inspector general law from actually leaving the commonwealth. And being paid out when it shouldn't we have welfare fraud investigators. Then investigate. Before money even paid out to make sure that people who were you know submitting documentation that it is not a hacker would. Not and permit them or entitlement to benefits. That money is not paid out we we. Typically say about ninety million dollars a year over all that's an average of the last three years from going out it's always harder to recover money once it's been paid out because that you have to go through the court process in the restitution process. But. We were covered should. Recovered last year almost some. That he didn't. Terms of all types of different flawed it's been recovered to you know those 220 million dollars so we do get money back. We're hoping to. Do. Larger scale investigations. Saying go at folks that are you know you know. Often times creating that demand in these in these markets for this and relief. Trying to recover as much money as possible. Parents say that we are we you know we always get Yeltsin. Somebody who's ordered to pay money and oftentimes can take several years before it's paid back particularly through the court system but we have been successful. In recovering the money in order to continue to collapse of the flight that flight. If somebody out deny Erie county that was charged and the numbers are pretty nice 6000. 222 dollars and snapped fraud. 2900514. And medical assistance fraud and then had. Did 227. In inline heap. Are you familiar with the particulars of that case. I EIE. Is now I do agree beat the affidavit Paul cause and it the you know oftentimes the medical assistance fraud can that's obviously the number that was us was how the higher of those three numbers that you mention. It often that being the case that the medical assistance fraud cases are very often have much higher dollar amounts because. He did extraordinarily. High cost. Medical care. And so often times they are. Have fraudulently obtained. The Serbs certain kinds of services or other things that are you oftentimes run into the tens of thousands of dollars so that's not. Not that unusual it is usually you have somebody you know word where you're talking about two or three different types of fraud and a time but we we do serious. So. And expense was one of those instances. I was summoned once if you are hiring. Fraud investigators. We legal week because of the current budget situation we horror are you know we're trying to keep bar. Compliment levels are as. Close to where they are right now is we can't because it is unit were still. Trying to figure out Howell. Probably. The general fund and everything's going to be paid force so were were like you were trying to. Keep that. Not compliment as low as possible what we do penetration and we are hiring. At times when. The need arises in this is certainly one of those times because we're converting to you know law enforcement designation we're doing a lot of training. We're trying to get folks. They have some of the Tim oftentimes have a law enforcement background or can help us in that way and so were. Or works full always going to be on the on the look for folks you can help us combat waste fraud and abuse. Are you more individuals who are who have perhaps. Desperate because of economic times who engage in this kind of activity I mean what we are racing an uptick in and are you. And I know you've been public about going after people. When you are public about it do you think it discourages others from trying it because they know they can be charged. With some pretty heavy duty things depending on I guess the the value then these found these these people could face right. Yes yes we oftentimes folks were or. Faced with felonies and it's it's on it's unfortunate. Both a little aid I'd necessarily say that that there's an uptick at the moment I think that there're. Has been a period of time where. Individuals may be felt like. Believe it wasn't as much due diligence and vigilance slow walking in to solve these things as as there're there. Could have banned arm now we have while a little bit different enforcement authority. I'll really looking to be getting their message out not just so that the general public understands. That we really mean business shall we say we're gonna compact this kind of waste and fraud and trying to work. We don't recover money for the Kabul to make sure that money is not being. Yeah expense why that. The folks that might be considering trying to cheat or not be truthful in order to obtain information or those but it might be in business that are gonna it belonged to her bikini BT card because it could be very profitable let. As a there's a good chance that we're going to be around the corner we're gonna we're there ought to be looking at what you're doing it and it we think you're breaking the law well you know investigated and you may very well be charged in an serious consequences of credit for that. And eating ospreys to formally applied to. Not just that very much appreciate the opportunity to not speak with you wouldn't and talk to my eight. Hometown area what Jerry still very much long. Very dead and thanks for the things he you do because we have a lot of people who say they see stuff like this all the time. And they wonder if if anybody cares it's certainly sees the scenes security agency does maybe give up the tip number before really got him a handy. Yeah yeah I'd be yet at the tip number. I know I ask you to give phone numbers off the top your habits perhaps the best thing let Babbitt let me see if I have it. I believe it is 1800. 93205. Eat too you got MI retired Burris and I. They look for doing in the snow and again that it's great that you are their and it it demonstrates to people that if they do have a concern. There is a place to ticket so thanks to do on the so what sort of increase.