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Organization suspected of paying fraudulent rental assistance applications, Thurston County claims

The county reported suspected fraud in rental assistance payments managed by Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties.
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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — Thurston County has suspended a contract with the Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties (CACLMT) after discovering the organization may have distributed rental assistance funds based on potentially fraudulent applications.

The Thurston County Auditor found a sample of four applications totaling more than $86,000 suspected to be fraudulent. The county said it is working to determine the magnitude of the fraud and recover lost funds. 

The fraud was discovered during regular monitoring of the emergency rental assistance distributed by the organization. The Board of County Commissioners then voted to authorize the county manager to exercise a suspension clause in Thurston County's contract with CACLMT.

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“We take fraud seriously,” Thurston County Treasurer Jeff Gadman said. “Protecting public resources is the highest priority for Thurston County and is why we develop robust internal controls.”

The suspension could cause a brief delay in rental and utility assistance distribution to community members, but officials are working to have a system in place to continue providing services, County Manager Ramiro Chavez said.

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