NJ Comptroller Report Details Millions In Taxpayer Savings [AUDIO]
Waste, fraud and abuse. The Office of the State Comptroller is out with an annual report on fiscal accountability in New Jersey government, and you'll be surprised at the tax dollars recovered and saved.
Through the efforts of the agency's Medicaid Fraud Division, they recovered for taxpayers more than $100 million in improperly paid Medicaid funds this past year. The division's anti-fraud efforts also helped avoid payment of an estimated $402 million in other potential Medicaid expenses.
"Getting back all that money for taxpayers this year is really a source of pride for our office and we were really happy to be able to return that money back to the state and federal government" said State Comptroller Matt Boxer.
The Investigations Division found the tax assessor for the Borough of Edgewater inappropriately had reduced the assessed property value of more than a hundred condominium units owned by the same wealthy developer, operating without documentation to grant reductions that more than tripled the tax reductions provided to other owners of identical units in the same complex.
The agency's Medicaid Fraud Division also moved to recover funds not only from large managed care organizations, but also from smaller entities such as a Camden shoe store that allegedly misclassified hundreds of name-brand sneakers as orthopedic footwear in an attempt to collect improper reimbursements from the Medicaid program.
"That resulted in a savings of about $3 million this year" he said.
Boxer said they also focused on independent government authorities that spend large sums of public money but historically have operated in the shadows.
For example, the DRPA report detailed a wasteful scheme to share more than $1 million in DRPA insurance policy commissions among a number of insurance brokers, some of whom performed little to no work for the money and one of whom told our investigators, "I performed nothing."
Following the release of the report, the DRPA ended the commission sharing arrangement and instead conducted a competitive selection process that resulted in new brokers and more than $487,000 in annual savings.
In other cases, the waste exposed amounted to more than simple dollars and cents.
"When auditors cross-referenced the applications of participants in the state-funded child care assistance program with corresponding tax returns they found that 15 percent of those program participants actually were ineligible for assistance based on their true income. While ineligible participants were receiving assistance they did not qualify for, approximately 8,000 children remained on the program's waiting list" said Boxer.
He said his office remains committed to cracking down on waste and abuse in state government moving forward.
"We will be looking at fire districts, school districts, local governments and state agencies always with a focus on cost-saving opportunities."