Columbia, SC (WLTX)- According to the South Carolina Inspector General, there's an investigation underway at the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.
South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs State Director Beverly Buscemi says they have hired an independent accounting firm to determine if some of their disabled residents are being overcharged for their housing.
"What we have spent the last couple months on is determining the breath of the issue and the scope of the issue," Buscemi says.
"I am comfortable saying there is a potential problem. There is enough that our internal audit division has found to raise question, otherwise we wouldn't be hiring this 3rd party to do a systematic review of any DDSN homes across the state," said Buscemi.
According to Buscemi, a provider brought the concern to them back in April, and that's when they conducted a statewide review on how housing money is being handled.
"We know some providers are doing it and doing it correctly and then there are some providers that are doing it differently and we are trying to determine if different is the same thing as inappropriate," said Buscemi.
Deborah McPherson is a former commissioner at DDSN. She talked about her concerns at a meeting last month, saying in part:
"I strongly urge DDSN to complete its audit of providers with HUD homes, and ensure that all consumers overcharged are provided restitution of their funds. It is not a question of whether it's complicated or whether HUD requires restitution to be provided up to five years, but rather what is the ethical thing for DDSN to do for the individuals with disabilities it serves."
The audit will go back to July of 2012 and Buscemi says they had to start somewhere and will determine where they need to go from there depending on what information they find.
"What it boils down to for me is that individuals, money and rights are protected and that that was used appropriately," said Buscemi.