Rockingham Co. DSS cracking down on welfare fraud

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Investigators at Rockingham County’s Department of Social Services have recovered more than a quarter of a million dollars from cases prosecuted for public assistance fraud.

"They're claiming people are in the house that aren't living there,” said Detective Michael Smith an investigator with DSS’ Program Integrity Unit.

Since February 2012, the unit has recovered $289,487 from many claiming food stamp, Medicaid, Work First and other public assistance benefits that they don’t qualify for.

Since February 2013, the unit has issued 47 warrants.

"It's not right,” said Debbie McGuire, director of Rockingham County’s DSS. “It's a crime, and when we detect it, then we will pursue it."

Investigators say their biggest tips come from the public, mainly neighbors.

"We get a lot of calls a week,” Smith said. “Anywhere from 15, 20 calls, sometimes more."

The calls often describe expensive homes or cars of those claiming to need help.

"This person drives this kind of car and I know they're on food stamps," Smith said, giving examples of the kinds of tips that he gets.

"Welfare fraud is not OK,” McGuire said. “It is a crime.”

A crime that may not only result in jail time but in having to pay back all the money from benefits falsely claimed.

"You'll get caught,” Smith said. “It's not worth it."



  • Jennifer

    ONLY a “Quarter of a Million??” Try MULTIPLYING that figure by a few exponents!!! In ALL SERIOUSNESS, dear Governor, The Teachers are worrying for naught!!

    • Doug

      Jennifer you are right. According to 2010 statistical data, Rockingham is #30 in population 93,000. Mecklenberg has 952,000. Let’s do this state wide and see how much money we can save.

  • Mark Stabler

    This is an effort that needs to be undertaken by each and every county and by the State government. There are many forms of false claims that are being paid by taxpayers. If every county recovered a proportional amount it would exceed 30 million dollars of recovery.

    • Ty Raid @WM2793

      I know that’s a joke ,but someone will be crying that soon.
      To carry the welfare reform one step further anyone who applies for welfare, food stamps , unemployment or ssd needs to be drug tested, with surprise drug tests throughout the year.
      If you come up hot no welfare.

  • ginger

    How many of those same people receiving food stamps and work first checks are also on Medicaid. Then they get a doctor who prescribes them some sort of drug they then sell on the streets. So lets see…we as tax payers are paying a portion if not all of their rent, food, medical care, and now a source of income.

  • M

    Every little bit helps.
    Coulda woulda shoulda …hired someone to do a house visit and check dmv records.
    Now let’s drug test the rest of them!

  • Stephen

    FInally! At least someone sees how much welfare fraud goes on. Great Job Rockingham County!

  • buyamerican

    Cheer’s to Rockingham County! Thank you for helping the working class tax paying citizen’s of NC who are fed-up with supporting lazy unaccountable trash!

  • #itiswhatitis#

    Start Drug testing ,NC !!!Nc needs all the help (ROCKINGHAM County) for SURE ! If you need the help , all good…life happens . people dont ABUSE ANYMORE! Maybe if we can get SOON , some pastic cups !!lol..i had to take 1 to get my job ,with random sure need to take at least 1….geezzz

Comments are closed.