Metro-East News

‘Double-dipping’ case prompts Belleville Township to get credit reports on clients

A person who received aid from Belleville Township kept collecting the aid after getting a new job, so the township board on Tuesday directed its attorney to contact St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly to see if the person could be prosecuted and if restitution can be made.

Trustee Joe Hubbard described the person’s actions as “double-dipping.”

To prevent future abuse, the board voted Tuesday to use Equifax to check the income of prospective clients.

Previously, the township used information from state unemployment records to check on people.

The person’s name was not released. Also, the amount that is suspected to have been taken fraudulently was not released.

Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook, who also serves as clerk for the township, said the person apparently was getting aid for 11 months while still holding a job.

Township Supervisor Dennis Korte declined to comment on the case.

Typically, a person who receives aid from the township can get $245 a month in assistance in the form of discount store gift cards or help paying a rent bill. The board recently stopped giving $100 cash payments to needy individuals.

“We have to do something to prevent fraud,” Trustee Joy Schreiber said after the board’s meeting. “If people get away with this stuff, they’re just going to spread the word,” that the township will not pursue someone claiming benefits they don’t deserve.

Contact reporter Mike Koziatek at mkoziatek@bnd.com or 618-239-2502. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKoziatekBND.

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