The state employee who manages fraud investigations for the state welfare department was charged with fraud himself Wednesday for lying about his assets on an application to refinance his home mortgage.
The U.S. Attorney's office said that investigators had arrested Lynwood Patrick Jr., 39, at his home in East Hartford Wednesday morning on a charge of wire fraud. Patrick, charged by a new federal anti-corruption task force, was released on $150,000 bond after appearing before a federal judge in Hartford.
Patrick's arrest appears to follow a failed effort to establish several income-producing, residential properties, according to a bankruptcy he filed in Hartford in February. The Chapter 7 filing shows that Patrick had an interest in three properties that have been foreclosed upon and two that are in foreclosure.
Patrick could not be reached. His bankruptcy lawyer said he could not immediately discuss the case.
The complaint against Patrick said that he is employed by the state as director of investigations for the office of quality assurance at the Department of Social Services.
Patrick is responsible for coordinating and conducting activities to prevent, detect and investigate fraud, waste, abuse and overpayments in federally funded welfare programs such as Connecticut Medicaid, Care4Kids, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance and Connecticut Energy Assistance programs.
He is accused of applying for a mortgage modification under the federal government's Making Home Affordable program, which was created to make lower-rate home loans available to homeowners who have experienced a decline in income.
When applying for a reduced rate loan through JP Morgan Chase, Patrick is accused of forging phony state of Connecticut pay stubs and underreporting assets to qualify. Patrick reported an annual income of about $55,000, when he was earning about $77,000, according to the arrest warrant.
In addition, he is accused of claiming to have only $500 in a single checking account when he had thousands of dollars spread across multiple accounts at several banks, according to the warrant.
State officials said that Patrick now earns about $101,000 a year.
The state social services department has begun an inquiry that could lead to Patrick's discipline or dismissal, a spokesman said. The spokesman said that Patrick "is being put out on administrative leave during the investigation of this alleged serious misconduct, in accordance with state employment procedures." The spokesman said it is a paid leave.
Wire fraud, which involves the use of electronic communications to defraud, carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
The new Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force includes representatives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher M. Mattei, who directs the task force, is expected to prosecute Patrick.
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