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CFO Atwater Announces Former DCF Employee Sentenced to Prison for Public Assistance Fraud

4/13/2012

Contact: Alexis Lambert 
(850) 413-2842

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today that former Department of Children and Families (DCF) caseworker Meera Khan was sentenced to six years in state prison for committing public assistance fraud. 

“The fraud in Florida’s Medicaid and public assistance programs costs honest Floridians millions each year.  Cracking down on fraudsters is key to stopping the bleeding of our state’s budget,” CFO Jeff Atwater said.  “I’m proud of the work done by the detectives in the Division of Public Assistance Fraud to bring this individual to justice.”

An investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Public Assistance Fraud in partnership with Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle revealed that Khan created fake benefits cases using the identities of acquaintances without their permission.  The fake cases allowed her to use foods stamps for her personal benefit.  In addition, she worked with corrupt businesses to convert food stamps into cash that she and the businesses would then pocket. During her nine years as a DCF caseworker in Miami, Khan perpetrated an estimated $1.3 million in public assistance fraud.

Khan pled guilty to numerous charges, including racketeer influenced and corrupt organization (RICO), conspiracy to commit RICO, grand theft, public assistance fraud, official misconduct, identity theft and unlawful compensation. She will have to serve a three-year minimum mandatory prison sentence before she is eligible for release. As a condition of her sentence she is prohibited from seeking any type of re-employment with the State of Florida and is barred from applying for any type of public assistance benefits from the state.

Anyone with information about these or any other incidents of suspected public assistance fraud is asked to call 1-866-762-2237. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous.

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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.