COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- The state has unveiled a new website it says makes it easier than ever to report suspected fraud.
The new website covers suspected fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Ohio Works First, publicly funded child care, unemployment compensation and Medicaid programs. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
"If they suspect that a friend or a neighbor or a co-worker is defrauding the system and collecting benefits they are not entitled to or misusing those benefits after they have them, we want people to report that to us," said Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services spokesman Ben Johnson.
In 2013, ODJFS disbursed about $3 billion in SNAP food assistance, $300 million in OhioWorks First cash assistance, $600 million in child care subsidies, and $1.8 billion in state and federal unemployment compensation.
Johnson says fraud makes up a very small amount of public assistance. For example, of the $1.8 billion in unemployment compensation, about $20 million was found to be fraud.
"That's about 100th of a percent, so in context it's a very small problem, but it's still $20 million," he said. That money could be spent on people who actually need it.
Individuals found to be committing fraud are removed from the program, must repay any improperly obtained benefits, and may face criminal charges and jail time.
The website, www.jfs.ohio.gov/fraud, is online now.
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)