SOUTH PORTLAND – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services says it expects to surpass last year’s record number of welfare fraud cases.

WCSH-TV reported that the Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit has several investigators spread through 10 offices across the state. The unit has brought 29 cases for prosecution so far this year, totaling more than $456,000 in theft of state benefits.

Last year, the unit brought 105 cases totaling more than $1.2 million in stolen benefits.

Director of Fraud Operations Tom Roth said cases in which a person uses a dead relative’s EBT card are becoming more common.

DHHS says the majority of this year’s cases involve people who didn’t accurately report income or employment to the department when applying for or reviewing their annual benefits cases.