SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - An audit of the state welfare agency alleges millions of your tax dollars may have been distributed to dead people.
$15 million dollars in potential welfare fraud, more than 1,000 cases of individuals using a dead person's EBT card.
Now, the state Attorney General's Office is investigating and there could be criminal charges.
Places like the Department of Transitional Assistance Office is where people can come to receive EBT benefits, a system that Springfield residents say needs to be reformed.
"It's not what it was originally intended for. A lot of people are abusing it, and there getting away with it. And there's no accountability so I think they need to go through all the recipients, and I think that everybody who goes on welfare should take a drug test," One Springfield resident said.
But Governor Deval Patrick told 22News that some of the audit's findings have turned out not to be true, "Lets deal with the scale of these issues in reality, and if the auditor is telling us there are 1,200 cases then lets see what those cases really are, because the first 178 they told us about turned out mostly, not to be a problem."
The Patrick administration claims that the auditor has only turned over 178 of the more than 1,100 claims of welfare fraud.
Of those 178 cases, they claim 13 were duplicate entries, 54 had already been closed and 79 people were not dead at all.
The audit took two and a half years to complete. It claims the Department of Transitional Assistance failed to follow up on internal reports of EBT fraud.
"I know a lot of people that do have it, and a lot of people who don't even get enough to provide for their two or three kids. So as to what I'm hearing about people passing away and then other people using their food service, I think that's a little pathetic," Enrique Aviles of Springfield said.
With the state auditor and Governor at odds over the legitimacy of the audit the responsibility now rests with Attorney General Martha Coakley.