New protections against public benefits fraud pass House

Responding to numerous complaints from throughout the Fox Valley area, State Representative Kay Hatcher Wednesday advanced legislation to protect against fraud in Illinois’ food, medical and other public assistance programs, and to protect those who need assistance from being victimized by scam artists.

Representative Hatcher (R-Yorkville) won overwhelming House approval of HB 5682 which would put a stop to unauthorized persons soliciting business submitting applications and paperwork for benefits for others, in exchange for control over their benefit accounts and a continuing percentage of the benefit payments.

“This is a shake-down plain and simple, and those being victimized are seniors, those who aren’t fluent in English, and others who are vulnerable. They certainly may need assistance in filling out paperwork and dealing with state agencies, but in return they are being coerced into signing over complete control over their benefit accounts, and every few months, a percentage of their benefits. If they don’t continue to pay up, their benefits may be cancelled,” Representative Hatcher said.  “State agency officials and victims themselves have told my staff and I about their experiences, but under current law, these scam artists have not technically done anything illegal. The legislation we passed in the House today corrects that.” Read more.