Special Investigation Unit

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Our Mission

The Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency Special Investigation Unit investigates allegations of abuse of local, State, and Federal laws and regulations pertaining to the Public Assistance Programs, thereby maintaining the integrity of those programs.

Who We Are

Investigators assigned to the Special Investigation Unit are designated Peace Officers under California Penal Code section 830.35. Under this provision, their authority extends to any place in the State of California for the purpose of performing their primary duty or when making an arrest. Investigators have the same police powers as their counterparts in the Sheriff’s Department or local police department.

Eligibility workers assigned to the unit have reached the senor level in their classification and have received extensive specialized training in detecting and identifying fraudulent activities.

What We Investigate

The Special Investigation Unit investigates fraudulent activities in the following public assistance programs:

  • CalWORKs (formally Aid to Families with Dependent Children or AFDC)
  • Food Stamps (A federal program through the USDA)
  • In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)
  • County Medical Services Program (CMSP)

Welfare Fraud Cases: The Outcome

Investigations can conclude in a variety of ways. For example, an investigation can result in:

  • A denial of benefits
  • A reduction of benefits
  • A discontinuance of benefits
  • Restitution action

In cases where there is clear criminal intent to commit fraud, and the amount of fraud is significant, a complete and detailed report is sent to the District Attorney’s Office with a request for criminal prosecution. In these cases, once a conviction is obtained, the offender could:

  • Be ordered to pay restitution
  • Receive a jail sentence in county jail
  • Receive a state prison sentence

How To Report Welfare Fraud

To report suspected welfare fraud you may:

  • Telephone the Special Investigation Unit at (707) 463-7729
  • Telephone the State of California Welfare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-344-TIPS
  • Write us at:
    Mendocino County Health and Human Services
    ATTN: Special Investigation Unit
    P.O. Box 1060
    Ukiah, CA 95482