The Whistleblower Institute announces that Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reached a $2.5 million settlement in a False Claims Act lawsuit.
San Diego, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/03/2017 -- The Whistleblower Institute announces that Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reached a $2.5 million settlement in a False Claims Act lawsuit over inaccurate reporting in the administration of a federal food assistance program
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A settlement has been reached to resolve False Claims Act allegations against Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
According to the Justice Department, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) has agreed to pay the United States $2,489,999 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamps Program.
A consultant, who advised ADHSS disputes the federal claims about the program that provides financial assistance to low-income families so they can buy nutritious food.
Individuals in the program receive an electronic benefit transfer card that can be used at participating stores to buy eligible food such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products and other items. Since 2010, SNAP has served on average more than 45 million Americans per month, and provided more than $71 billion annually.
"This settlement reflects the Justice Department's commitment to ensuring that taxpayer funds are spent appropriately so that the public can have confidence in the integrity of programs like SNAP," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department's Civil Division.
Reportedly, the settlement resolves allegations that ADHSS, beginning in late 2009, contracted with a consultant known as Julie Osnes Consulting to provide advice and recommendations designed to lower its SNAP quality control error rate. The United States alleged that Osnes Consulting's recommendations, as implemented by ADHSS, injected bias into ADHSS's quality control process and resulted in ADHSS submitting inaccurate quality control data and information to USDA and receiving performance bonuses for fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, that it should not have received.
"Alaska terminated its contract with Osnes Consulting in early 2015 and has reviewed and changed its quality control practices," stated Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills.
Based in Juneau, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is a state agency of Alaska.
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