Sen. Fasano Disappointed State will not Pursue Charges in D-SNAP Fraud Cases

August 22, 2014

Hartford – State Senator Len Fasano (R-34), Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore, issued the following statement in response to the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney’s decision not to prosecute the state employees who improperly applied for and received D-SNAP benefits following tropical storm Irene.

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision not to pursue criminal charges against those state employees who obtained public benefits they were not entitled to receive. State employees are expected to act in the public’s best interest. They should be held to the highest standard of conduct because they hold a public trust. In this situation, that trust was broken.”

While the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney cited the low dollar amount of each individual claim as a basis for not pursuing prosecution, Senator Fasano argued that the dollar value should not have been the deciding factor.

“The problem at hand is not the money alone, but also the violation of public trust. When the public sees state employees abuse the system for personal gain and then get off the hook with no punishment, it feeds the distrust and cynicism many feel towards our government.”

“This is not about all state employees. State employees work hard every day to better our state. Rather, this is about those individuals who take advantage of the system and abuse the public trust. There must be a way to hold such individuals accountable. More must be done to safeguard against fraud and abuse.”

While it was recommended that at least 97 state employees be fired for their misconduct in improperly obtaining benefits, only four were ultimately let go. Still others were allowed to retire with full public pensions.

“I share the public’s anger and frustration. After all of the time and money spent investigating this matter and pursuing discipline and terminations, to see the vast majority of employees get their jobs back with no repercussions is disheartening. It conveys the message that the system is rigged and that state employees are above the law. It is a disservice to taxpayers as well as the hard working state employees who follow the rules and would never abuse the system for their own benefit.