HARTFORD, Conn., March 13 (UPI) -- At least 42 state workers fraudulently obtained government assistance after Tropical Storm Irene hit Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy says.
Malloy announced Monday 27 people have been fired, 10 retired and five quit their jobs, The Hartford Courant reported. More than 1,000 state employees applied for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or D-SNAP, a federal program that provides cash grants after disasters for food, temporary housing and repairs.
"When we announced this investigation, we said that allegations of fraud by state employees would not be tolerated," Malloy said. "While this is certainly not something anyone should take joy in, the people of Connecticut should know we are serious about running a government that honestly serves them."
While 685 have been cleared of wrongdoing, others could face suspension or termination, the governor said.
Rich Rochlin, a lawyer representing 15 workers who have been fired, two who were suspended and 13 others facing lesser forms of discipline, said many of his clients are single mothers working in low-income state jobs. He said most made mistakes in filling out the paperwork.
"These people come in crying," Rochlin said Monday. "They have to wait until the union takes up arbitration. It could theoretically be as soon as 30 or 45 days after the grievance. ... Most of the people didn't know what the thresholds were for eligibility."