Maine welfare fraud investigations, prosecutions increase significantly under Gov. LePage

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AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration says the number of welfare fraud investigations and prosecutions have gone up significantly.

The Department of Health and Human Services says that it referred 81 welfare fraud cases to the attorney general in 2014, up from 10 cases in 2010. It says it has referred 35 cases to Attorney General Janet Mills' office so far this year.

The department added nine new welfare fraud investigators in 2011. It also implemented a hotline so the public can refer potential fraud cases to investigators.

The attorney general's office prosecuted 27 welfare fraud cases last year, up from 12 in 2011.

Among some cases that the department has seen are people who've lied about how much they make to get benefits or traded welfare cards for cash.

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