Audit of Tennessee Community Services Agency Finds Nearly $30,000 In Fraud In Federal Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A report released Thursday by the state comptroller’s office details how the Tennessee Community Services Agency (TNCSA) management failed to detect and prevent clients from falsifying work activity documentation to receive their cash benefits.

The Comptroller’s Division of State Audit found that clients fraudulently received $29,543 in benefits based on falsified documentation.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, known as the Families First program in Tennessee, is a federal grant program funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  The TANF program, designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency, includes providing cash benefits to eligible families.  To receive cash benefits, recipients must participate in work activity if the Tennessee Department of Human Services determines that they are able.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services contracted with Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation (Seedco) and Seedco subcontracted with TNCSA to provide case management services to TANF clients in Shelby County.  Through its Employment Solutions program, TNCSA management was responsible for ensuring TANF clients were engaged in required work activities in order to obtain and maintain their benefits. 

Comptroller’s auditors determined that:

· TNCSA staff did not verify the clients’ work activity with employers and supervisors;

· Client files contained falsified income statements, employer receipts, and community service timesheets;

· Clients engaged in fewer work activity hours than were required to maintain benefits;

· TNCSA staff failed to document client absences from work activity hours;

· TNCSA staff case notes in Salesforce and the Automated Client Certification and Eligibility Network of Tennessee (ACCENT) did not agree with work activity documentation in the clients’ paper files; and

· TNCSA staff created work activity documentation after auditors’ requests for documentation because apparently the original documents were not readily available or because the documents did not exist.

Auditors will present their findings at a meeting of the General Assembly’s Government Operation Joint Subcommittee on Education, Health, and General Welfare on Oct. 23. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room 16 at Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville.

The audit also highlighted other issues with TNCSA that are unrelated to the Employment Solutions program. The report can be viewed online at: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/repository/SA/pa13058.pdf.

“Fraud of public money simply cannot be tolerated and falsifying documentation to obtain federal or state benefits is unacceptable,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson.  “It is imperative that state officials and the state’s contractors put safeguards in place to prevent and detect fraudulent activity by ineligible individuals.”

Anyone who suspects an individual or an agency of fraud, waste, or abuse of public funds in Tennessee, should contact the comptroller’s hotline toll free at 800-232-5454 or fill out a report at http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, CEAUNA JASHAE  2501 OAK ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT --- BLEVINS, JAMES BRAYDEN  683 BANDY RD RINGGOLD, 30736  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY DRUGS GENERAL ... (click for more)

Catoosa County Arrest Report For Feb. 16-22

Click  here  for the Catoosa County arrest report for Feb. 16-22. (click for more)

Legislators: Protect Our Students And Teachers

When students step into their classrooms, they are there to learn and prepare for their future. Our teachers serve to advance each student’s education and guide them towards success.  Educators have an additional responsibility: maintaining the trust and respect of their students by conducting themselves professionally and responsibly. The vast majority of our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why CNN Is Gonna Croak

I believe CNN (Cable News Network) has become one of the most disappointing news sources America has ever known in the last five years. The bastions of sound journalism no longer exist as the once-great organization has gone the way of liberal loathing. Its new basis-of-fact cannot be trusted and the overwhelming bias against conservatives in our nation is as morbid as it is frightening. ... (click for more)

Baylor Boys Advance To D-II Final Four

Baylor and Ensworth split their two regular-season basketball games with the Red Raiders prevailing by 15 at home while the Tigers won by a dozen in Nashville. They played the rubber game in the series Saturday at Baylor’s Jimmy Duke Arena. The game was much closer than either of the first two, but the home team won again as Baylor improved to 18-6 with the closer-than-it-sounds ... (click for more)

Cookeville Shocks Cleveland, 70-68, In Region 3-3A Tournament

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – As a No. 1 seed, Cleveland had reason to feel comfortable going into Saturday’s Region 3-3A boys’ basketball tournament against No. 4 Cookeville. However, the Cavaliers figured they were the Blue Raiders’ equal. And they were. Cookeville overcame a sluggish start and then took the battle to Cleveland over the final three quarters, Noah Hilliker ... (click for more)