PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mary Lassiter is a foster parent to her 3-year-old granddaughter and receives monthly checks from the state to help her.
Lassiter said her checks that were sent through the mail for July and August were stolen and fraudulently cashed.
“I made a couple of phone calls and to no avail, I never received the check,” she recalled. “But I did receive something back from the general treasurer’s saying that the check was cashed — but it wasn’t my signature.”
Lassiter made more phone calls and filed a police report, but still couldn’t get a clear answer as to when she would be issued a new check.
“I have done everything,” she said. “I have contacted DCYF, I’ve contacted general treasurer’s office, I’ve made police reports, I’ve contacted the fraud unit with the Providence Police Department.”
That’s when Lassiter turned to 12 Responds for help.
According to the treasurer’s office, since October 2022, there have been five checks investigated and replaced due to fraud.
12 Responds reached out to the general treasurer’s office and the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) about the issue.
Since then, Lassiter has received a new check for July, but said she’s still waiting for the check from August.
According to a DCYF spokesperson, if a foster parent or provider calls to report that they have not received their stipend, or that they believe their stipend checks were cashed by someone else, the agency follows the following procedure:
- After 10 business days, DCYF sends the provider an affidavit which needs to be filled out and notarized, and then sent to the Treasury Department.
- The Treasury Department would then let the parent/provider know they need to file a police report. Once the parent/provider gets the police report and submits it to the Treasury Department, parents/providers need to complete a forged check affidavit form.
- Once the Treasury Department receives the forged check affidavit form, they submit the paperwork to the fraud unit at Government Banking. The fraud unit is responsible for investigating each report, and ultimately determine if fraud was committed or not. If it’s determined that the stipend checks were cashed fraudulently, the Treasury Department, not DCYF, would then reissue the check to the parent or provider.