LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) The CEO of Smile Community Action Agency says he will take action against any applicant who submits a fraudulent application to get financial help.  

Craig Mathews says he has a caseload of individuals who have been indicted and are being prosecuted.

He says in addition to tenants submitting false information, they have always caught on to to landlords who are committing fraud.

“Yes, defrauding the government, defrauding SMILE by taking these funds out of our budget when they don’t deserve.”

Mathews believes anytime the state, federal or local government places rental and utility assistance programs into the hands of agencies such as SMILE, the agency has an obligation to vet its applicants.  

“We have a duty of obligation to ensure we properly vet every application. There are going to be some that unfortunately slip through the cracks because con artists have just gotten to be that good, but the majority of them we are catching,” Mathews said.

All suspected fraud cases will be submitted to the district attorney’s office.

“They are going to be held accountable to the letter of the law that when they stood in our line and said they needed the help, that they were legitimate eligible applicants; otherwise, we are going to refer the cases for prosecution.”