Since District Attorney Hoovler took office, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office has emphasized enforcement of the law against people who commit white-collar crime and other frauds. The bulk of that enforcement effort is performed by the office’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU). In addition to other responsibilities, the SIU investigates and prosecutes financial crimes, including welfare fraud, financial elder abuse, large-scale white-collar larcenies, labor crimes, and violations of the New York State Tax Law. The SIU works with many agencies, including the Tax Department, the Inspector General’s Office, and the New York State Comptroller’s Office in order to ensure that white-collar crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Orange County Department of Social Services and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, has taken an active role in investigating and prosecuting those offenses. This culminated in periodic welfare fraud enforcement actions, known as “sweeps,” that, in 2014, 2015, and 2016, resulted in the filing of over 152 welfare fraud criminal cases, as compared to 7 such cases in 2013, the year before District Attorney Hoovler took office. The efforts of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and its welfare-fraud-enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting public benefits crimes in 2014 and 2015:
- Uncovered approximately $1.3 million in fraud;
- Resulted in approximately $175,000 in funds being voluntarily returned to the County by offenders (as compared to less than $13,000 in 2013); and
- Saved more than $9 million in estimated costs avoided as a result of the deterrent effect of stringent enforcement.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has taken an active role in investigating and prosecuting elder abuse of all kinds, including financial elder abuse crimes. Every step is taken to ensure that the cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has and continues to conduct public service announcements relating to financial elder abuse crimes, including hosting programs on how to avoid elder abuse and public service posters encouraging citizens to report incidents of elder abuse.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has actively solicited reports of labor crime from unions, and pursued offenders who violate prevailing wage laws and unemployment and disability insurance laws. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has brought the first-ever fraud enforcement action against home improvement contractors, and has established a telephone “hotline” for citizens to report labor crimes.
As a result of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office’s efforts, in 2014, the office was determined by the New York State Department of Labor to be the tenth-highest county in the state in terms of the amount of funds recovered in Department of Labor cases. In 2015, the office was determined to be the sixth-highest. That statistic is remarkable, since Orange County is the twelfth-largest county by population in New York, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office’s recoveries in Department of Labor cases exceeded the recoveries achieved by several counties with much larger populations.
To report labor crimes, residents can call (845) 291-2107.