Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration announced today it has forwarded the names of another 10 state employees to agency heads for review in connection with the ongoing food stamps fraud investigation.

This brings the total number of state workers still under close review to 44. An additional 29 employees already have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

“Since we first announced our investigation, we’ve uncovered dozens of cases where it appears that state employees may have deliberately lied on their federal disaster assistance applications to receive benefits,” Malloy said.  “Everyone is entitled to due process, but if these allegations prove true, it constitutes a serious violation of the public trust. We can and must demand better from public employees.”

A total of 824 state employees sought assistance following Tropical Storm Irene through the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as D-SNAP. Funding was made available to low-income Connecticut residents who incurred disaster-related expenses including loss of income, health care expenses, temporary shelter costs and property repairs.

Irene, which was at hurricane force when it struck the southeastern U.S. but had been downgraded to a tropical storm before reaching Connecticut Aug. 27, caused more than 670,000 power outages among residential and business customers, some of whom were without power nearly 10 days.

The remaining 751 applications from state employees — excluding those from workers already cleared or those submitted to agency heads for in-depth review — still are being analyzed, according to the governor’s office, which first announced an investigation Dec. 4.

Malloy has said that based on reviews to date, in some instances “it appears clear that the abuses of public trust involved go beyond simply lying about income,” and also involves false information related to assets or even a deceased relative. “Given the information known to us, these were not oversights or honest mistakes. This was outright fraud, and it will not stand.”

State auditors said earlier this month that a total 23,726 households with 74,230 people received the aid. Eligible households were to receive food aid ranging from $200 for a single adult to $1,202 for a family of eight.

The maximum monthly “take-home income and liquid assets” an applicant could have for the covered 30-day period was $2,186 for a single adult; $2,847 for a household of two; $3,272 for three; $3,859 for four; $4,245 for five; $4,753 for six; $5,116 for seven; and $5,479 for eight.

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Keith M. PhaneufState Budget Reporter

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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