A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

CHFS Inspector General finds mismanagement of child support funds in Breathitt County

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is seeking to recoup more than $85,000 in overpayments made to the office of Breathitt County Attorney Gary Salyers. The move follows an investigation into the Breathitt County child support enforcement program.

The investigation specifically relates to use of the child support enforcement monies. The Breathitt County Attorney’s office is contracted with the Kentucky Department of Income Support to operate the local program which uses both state and federal tax dollars.

“Child support enforcement staff discovered significant billing irregularities which were referred to CHFS’s Office of Inspector General for investigation,” said Bryan Hubbard, commissioner for the Department of Income Support. “Their extensive examination of Mr. Salyers’ office confirmed systemic mismanagement of child support enforcement dollars, over-billing, and billing for services by Mr. Salyers which he doesn’t appear to have actually performed. Those who hold public trust should guard it with the greatest degree of diligence. The OIG report establishes that he failed to do so on multiple fronts.”

The OIG’s investigation uncovered three areas where the Breathitt County Attorney overbilled the Commonwealth for services. This includes an overpayment for double-billed court services ($12,100); excessive billing rate for the assistant county attorney ($58,278); and incorrect reimbursement rate for costs ($15,613). Investigators reviewed office documents from Jan. 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017

In a letter to Salyers, CHFS Deputy Secretary Judge Timothy Feeley stated that “CHFS takes the mismanagement of Child Support Enforcement funds with the utmost seriousness.”

“The funds are intended as a safety net to support families in need of child support services, such as the location of a custodial parent and enforcement of support payments,” said Feeley. “As a taxpayer-supported program, we must adhere to the highest standard of accountability and ensure these funds are being used as intended.”

The OIG also found Salyers did not make required retirement contributions for one employee and that payroll expenses for FICA (social security/Medicare payroll contributions) and other personnel cost did not include proper documentation. Results of the investigation were shared with the state’s Attorney General for further review.

The Attorney General’s office has advised CHFS that it will not pursue any criminal action against Salyers. CHFS and Salyers are discussing a repayment plan which will recoup the overcharges to insure child support is collected and paid for the benefit of all the Commonwealth’s children.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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One Comment

  1. R. Cole says:

    Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. Right next door in Indiana they do the same thing. The child support office is collecting incentive money by collecting alleged support for grown men that are not living with the custodial parent and collecting incentive money for an 18 year old in the Indiana prison system. This is child support that they are demanding from a noncustodial parent. The custodial parent is not out any cost, nor is the state of Indiana. So why is the custodial parent along with the state of Indiana allowed to commit welfare fraud? Cps has me listed as a drug addict dependent on drugs? Problem! I don’t use drugs, never been charged with a drug offense, don’t have drugs and don’t allow them around me, and I’m a retired truck driver and have taken dozens of random drug screens and never failed one. This allegation of being a drug addict was put in there to keep me from getting custody of my 3 sons! The office of the Inspecting General should be slamming these agencies for fraud, and welfare fraud. The Indiana citizens and US citizens are being ripped off every day by these crooked thieves. Their books should be audited.

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