Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bill Seeks State Banks' Help on Fraud

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bill Seeks State Banks' Help on Fraud

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

A bill has been introduced in the Oklahoma House of Representatives which seeks to enlist the help of Oklahoma banks in punishing welfare fraud and rounding up deadbeat dads.

The Welfare and Child Support Collection Verification Act, House Bill 1591, would authorize the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to design, implement and operate a bank match reporting system. It was authored by Rep. Wanda Jo Peltier, D-Oklahoma City.

The act provides for an inter agency agreement between the state banking commissioner and the Department of Human Services for the purpose of verifying the eligibility of those on public assistance and collecting child support for those who are entitled.

Under the act, each financial institution in the state would be required to submit a report to the state banking commissioner within 30 days at the end of the first quarter of each calendar year. The report would include names, Social Security numbers and other identifying data of each person maintaining an account at the institution.

The act defines financial institutions as "every federal or state commercial or savings bank, including savings and loan associations and cooperative banks, federal or state-chartered credit unions, benefit associations, insurance companies, safe deposit box companies, and any money market mutual fund and any entity authorized to do business in the state."

Financial institutions would also be required to submit to the commissioner a supplemental report at the end of each quarter regarding new accounts opened during that quarter and accounts opened the prior quarter that have been closed.

The Department of Human Services would then examine the data and make positive identification in cases where recipients of assistance have assets in excess of threshold requirements and where child support is owed.

The release of such information to the banking commissioner in compliance with the act would not be construed as a violation of confidentiality laws, the bill states.

State Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson said it was still too early to tell how such a policy would be implemented. …

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