Kern County reports hundreds of welfare fraud cases

People under-reporting, not reporting income

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A Bakersfield woman is busted for food stamp fraud.

According to court reports obtained by 23ABC, the woman, Athena Gatti, admitted to investigators that she did not report her husband’s income to prevent a reduction in her benefits. Investigators say she got $3,900 worth of food stamps she wasn’t supposed to.

READ | District Attorney's complaint against Athena Gatti:

The Kern County Department of Human Services says they refer about a thousand cases of suspected welfare fraud every month for investigation.

But they say the overall number of confirmed cases of welfare fraud are less than one percent of the people getting assistance.

Welfare officials say there are a number of ways they can catch fraud.  They have access to income records that may not match what the client is reporting and that is how they caught Gatti.

The department says they also get new hire reports that tell them when an unemployed person gets a job.

There is also fraud hotline where people can call in cases of suspected welfare fraud. The number is 661-633-7283.

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