Investigating Fraud in Our Public Benefit Programs ~ IN YOUR CORNER with AUDITOR DIZOGLIO

By: Diana DiZoglio – Feb. 24

Much of our focus in the State Auditor’s Office is on conducting audits and reports that identify ways state agencies and organizations can improve accessibility to government services and resources, while helping to ensure greater accountability and transparency across our state government.
I’d like to share a bit about the incredible work of our Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) unit, a team dedicated to strengthening the social safety net in Massachusetts by investigating potential fraud in our public benefit programs.

This unit investigates programs administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Division of Medical Assistance, which administers MassHealth. In addition, BSI has an agreement with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to investigate fraud in that program as well.
Our team continues to focus on ways we can help make a meaningful impact by improving best practices, increasing accessibility to resources and programs, and helping identify ways we can hold organizations accountable across state government. BSI’s annual report highlights their critical work during the last fiscal year.

BSI receives referrals for investigation from its agency partners, public tips, federal agencies, and through the use of its data analytics tools. The public can report potential fraud to BSI online at HERE  and via phone at (617) 727–6771. Complaints are always confidential.

As we continue to develop new practices, in collaboration with other state agencies, to help identify potential fraud, more cases are identified and evaluated. The increased workload is possible with advanced data analytic tools and new pathways of communication. For example, our work with DTA is essential and, as they become aware of a potential fraud case, BSI is able to automatically begin investigating the situation.

Catching fraud early and preventing our tax dollars from being wasted ensure that families who truly need this helping hand are not left in the cold due to bad actors. During this past fiscal year, the total amount of fraud BSI identified was $12,322,688, with 5,100 investigations completed – a 40.8% increase from FY22. 782 of those cases had fraud identified.

Another important role BSI has in reporting fraudulent cases is the ability to recommend cases for prosecution for the most severe cases of fraud to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) after considering the intent and the potential to serve as a deterrent to future fraud.

Public assistance is meant to be of service for folks in need. Even if we can’t imagine ever needing assistance, these programs can provide vital services and serve as a social safety net for all of us. That is why my office will continue to promote accountability to ensure these programs are preserved by helping to catch fraud and misspending.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to provide feedback to our team, please feel free to contact my office via email at or by phone at (617) 727-2075. And if you’re ever in the State House, I hope you’ll stop by and visit our team in room 230!

Warm regards,
Diana ◊