Troopers among those who may have lied about eligibility for food-aid program

Nine more state employees are suspected of filing fraudulent applications for federal food stamps, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday.

The nine are in addition to the 15 state employees identified last week in an investigation of D-SNAP, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provided aid to state residents in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Those identified earlier have been informed of the dates of their administrative hearings, the governor's office said.

The Hartford Courant reported Monday that four of the employees are state troopers, a number the president of the Connecticut State Police Union could not confirm.

"Two of our members are under investigation," Andrew Matthews, the union president, said late Monday afternoon. "I've heard the rumor that there are four but that's all it is at this point, a rumor. As of Friday, two of our members have been aware that they're being investigated."

Matthews said he could not give the names of those being investigated or discuss any specifics of their cases. State police would not comment.

"Internal affairs is conducting the investigations," Matthews said. "If the allegations are proven, the (union) members could be disciplined up to and including termination. … But we would hope that the public's perception of other members would not be tarnished. Our members take great pride in the oath of office they take."

The filing of a fraudulent claim for assistance could also involve criminal charges.

"We have a zero tolerance policy for the misuse or abuse of government programs in this administration," Malloy said in announcing the latest instances of suspected fraud.

"While the addition of nine administrative hearings is troubling, I want the residents of Connecticut to know that this is an ongoing investigation, and I am determined to leave no stone unturned," he said. "In addition to losing their jobs, anyone caught defrauding our government will be referred immediately to the proper authorities. The days of looking the other way are over."


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