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County Seeks Corruption Inquiry

January 22, 1992

The County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to ask state and federal authorities to investigate allegations of corruption by employees of the Department of Social Services.

The board asked the state attorney general's office and the U.S. inspector general for health and human services to investigate the county's Aid for Dependent Children, Medi-Cal and refugee assistance welfare programs for abuse.

A committee of the county grand jury is investigating charges that several welfare department officials and fraud investigators covered up employee participation in fraud and failed to prosecute others. The social services department also is conducting an internal investigation.

The allegations were brought before the grand jury by David Sossaman, a fraud investigator with the Department of Social Services and other current and former employees who have testified to the panel.

Officials in the district attorney's office and the social services department have denied allegations of corruption among welfare investigators.

County Supervisor Brian Bilbray asked for the outside investigation to allow an impartial check of the welfare system. "The credibility of the system to the public is absolutely critical . . . especially when times are getting tough," Bilbray said.

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