By Richard Weizel
MILFORD, Conn (Reuters) - The head of the unit that investigates Connecticut welfare fraud has been charged with falsifying pay stubs and lying about his savings to secure a cheaper mortgage under a federal program for the poor, federal authorities said on Thursday.
Lynwood Patrick Jr., 39, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of federal wire fraud charges, and could lose his position as director of investigations for Connecticut's Office of Quality Assurance in the Department of Social Services.
Patrick applied in 2012 for a mortgage modification under a federal program designed to help homeowners who have experienced a decline in income get loans at reduced rates, said Deirdre Daly, United States Attorney for Connecticut.
"When applying for mortgage relief through JP Morgan Chase, Patrick fabricated State of Connecticut pay stubs and lied about his assets in order qualify for the program," according to the criminal complaint.
Patrick reported annual income of about $55,000 on the application when he was actually earning about $77,000, according to the arrest warrant. State officials said Patrick now earns about $100,000 a year.
In his current role, Patrick is responsible for coordinating and conducting investigations into fraud, waste, abuse and overpayment in federally funded welfare programs, according to a court affidavit connected to his arrest.
State officials in the Department of Social Services said they have also launched a probe that could result in Patrick's dismissal. In the meantime, he has been placed on paid administrative leave.
After being arrested at his East Hartford home, Patrick appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Martinez in Hartford and was released on a $150,000 bond. Patrick and his Hartford attorney, Donald Freeman, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Jeffrey Benkoe)