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DSS CASE: $5 million fraud keeps going and growing

Mar 10, 2010 12:18:00 AM - thestate.com
The case involving the theft of $5 million in Medicaid money at the S.C. Department of Social Services has swollen to encompass enough alleged criminals - an estimated 350 at last count - to populate a small town.

"It's the biggest one I remember us prosecuting," said Acting U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Kevin McDonald.

It's bigger than an illegal Upstate marriage scheme years ago, with its 200-plus defendants. Bigger than the 95-defendant food-stamp fraud case in Newberry County in recent years.

And in a state accustomed to stunning and headline-grabbing crimes by officials - from State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel's cocaine distribution to Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Sharp's taking bribes from cockfighters - the DSS fraud is in a class by itself.

And its threads continue to unravel. Others are pleading guilty, three more so far this month. More people still could be arrested. And more about how the case was cracked is coming to light.