Dan Hust | Democrat
Former Monticello Police Officer Gerry Dietz was introduced this week by Legislator Cindy Gieger as Sullivan County’s chief fraud investigator.
New fraud team
already at work
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO April 5, 2013 Legislator Cindy Gieger called it “a new set of expectations.”
She was talking about the now-active Sullivan County Fraud Investigative Team (FIT), led by retired 23-year Monticello Police Officer Gerard “Gerry” Dietz.
On the job of chief fraud investigator for the past two weeks, Dietz has already met with success, uncovering several alleged fraud cases leading to recent arrests in Mongaup Valley and Monticello.
He was introduced by Gieger and a panoply of county and law enforcement officials at a Tuesday press conference in Monticello.
“He not only comes to us with many years of law enforcement experience but also highly recommended,” Gieger noted.
Dietz himself spoke briefly, acknowledging he’s more a man of action than of words.
“I would much rather be in the field or even testifying in court, but here I am,” he joked to the small audience.
But Dietz’s mandate is serious: root out Medicaid fraud in Sullivan County.
“As a former Public Health nurse and the sister of a wonderful man disabled with a debilitating disease, I know all too well that we as a society have an absolute responsibility to provide for our needy, our poor, our seniors, our veterans, our disabled and our homeless,” acknowledged Gieger.
“But my research has shown we, as taxpayers, are paying out too much money in the quest to seek Medicaid reimbursement, leading to overpayments in vendor contracts, providing various services and allowing Sullivan County to become ‘the destination’ to receive benefits.”
FIT is designed to coordinate county workers, law enforcement personnel and the general public to uncover, investigate and prosecute those who abuse the social services system.
To that end, a hotline has been set up: 513-2392. Anyone wishing to report suspected Medicaid fraud can also email the county at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both phone calls and emails will be kept confidential.
“We really want active participation from the entire community, because fraud, waste and abuse affects us all,” affirmed Family Services Deputy Commissioner David Sager.
Gieger predicted the new initiative will recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Sullivan County must take a more active role in sending a clear message: if you are defrauding the system, do not come to Sullivan County,” she explained. “... We’re now saying that our money is going to be accounted for. We are looking now.”
“There are a lot of people who need benefits, and we realize this,” added Dietz. “However, there are a lot of people who also feed off the system. They will lie and manipulate the system. They will commit fraud. They will steal.
“They will get arrested and be prosecuted.”