Managing Partner Philip Becnel was quoted in an article in The Washington Post called, “Stop enrollment fraud? D.C. school officials are often the ones committing it.” Residency fraud is when parents who live and pay taxes outside of the District enroll their children in D.C. schools. Investigative journalists for The Post examined records from the past five years and interviewed current and former school personnel to determine that the problem of residency fraud continues to be widespread.
The article identified our company as being responsible for investigating residency fraud prior to 2014. Our firm was highly adept at these investigations, as explained in an article written by Philip Becnel in Fraud Magazine. Our firm was previously mentioned in an excellent series on the topic published by The Daily Caller.
Between 2014 and 2017, the D.C. State Superintendent of Education reportedly hired different private investigators who were ineffective. Currently, government resources for combating residency fraud have dwindled to just one staff investigator for the entire District of Columbia, according to The Post article.
“That’s a joke,” said Philip Becnel, a private investigator who scrutinized student residency at D.C. charter schools from 2012 through 2014. “That’s completely inadequate. Proving these cases is incredibly difficult. We used teams of investigators to investigate one case, two- or three-person teams.”
The article goes on to mention that the D.C. government is in the process of hiring more staff investigators and has budgeted $300,000 to help combat residency fraud going forward.
In our opinion, this is a big step back in the right direction.