The state Department of Social Services is alleging that 171 private citizens committed post-Irene disaster aid fraud, according to the Connecticut Post.
Spokesman David Dearborn told the Post that the cases have been sent to the Chief State's Attorney's Office for possible legal action. Out of the 25,750 applications for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Aid Program funds following Tropical Storm Irene, about 23,750 received benefits of $700 to $1,200. Applicants were warned beforehand that they might be audited.
According to Dearborn, the easy application process, which only involves presenting ID, proof of residence, income sources and damage estimates, was created for major disasters like Hurricane Katrina where access to records and verification might be impossible.
Following , the Department of Social Services pledged in January to investigate the private sector.