BY ART BUKOWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — A Long Lake Township man faces felony charges after authorities said he duped state officials into providing nearly $17,000 in undeserved welfare benefits.
Craig S. Gibson, 64, is charged with two counts of felony welfare fraud of more than $500. He hadn't been arrested Wednesday.
A report from the Michigan Department of Human Services shows that from November 2009 through March 2011, Gibson received various benefits intended for himself, his wife and his stepdaughter.
But state investigators in August spoke to Gibson's now ex-wife, who revealed that she and her daughter moved out of the house in September 2009.
The total amount of alleged fraud listed in the DHS report is $16,944.
Investigators set a Aug. 27 interview for Gibson to discuss what they suspected to be fraudulent activity, but he didn't show, a report said.
Gibson couldn't be reached for comment.
Al Kimichik is director of the state Office of Inspector General, the agency that investigates welfare fraud complaints.
He couldn't comment on details of Gibson's case, but said his agency aggressively pursues welfare fraud whenever it's suspected.
"We're charged with trying to improve the integrity of these programs so that the public has confidence in the effectiveness of these programs," he said.
His agency's investigations resulted in more than 7,000 criminal cases tied to about $110 million in fraud last year alone, he said.