AUGUSTA — Maine receives hundreds of welfare fraud allegations a year, but just a fraction typically ends up being prosecuted.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Emily Spencer said Monday the state received 1,160 calls and allegations of potential welfare fraud last year. The agency looked into 811 of such claims after finding hundreds lacked evidence or were incorrect.

The department’s Fraud Investigations and Recovery Unit presented 25 cases to the attorney general’s office in 2018.

The attorney general’s office doesn’t have figures on which cases have been prosecuted so far.

Maine’s attorney general says 18 fraud cases ended in restitution agreements or orders last year.

The office ordered roughly $700,000 in restitution last year. Spokesman Marc Malon said the “short-handed” office is seeking an additional welfare fraud prosecutor.


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