Franchot’s IT Shield touted as superior state program

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Special to Dorchester Banner/Barbara Sauer
Joining Comptroller Peter Franchot, center, in accepting the award are from left: Assistant Director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates (BRE) David Van Remoortere; BRE Director Andrew Schaufele; Deputy Comptroller Sharonne Bonardi; IT Assistant Director Robin Aro; and Kathy Henry, manager of the Special Projects Section in the Revenue Administration Division.

ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland Comptroller’s Office was one of the winners of a “StateScoop 50 Award” in the category of State IT Program announced earlier this month, for devising a computerized sleuthing system to identify tax returns that likely are fraudulent.

Catching fraudulent returns before paying out tax refunds has saved Maryland taxpayers millions of dollars and has also freed up tax examiners to help taxpayers working on legitimate returns.

“I’m extremely proud of my team of experts working to catch fraudsters, and in the process, protecting the people of Maryland. This well-deserved award is for designing the technological equivalent of a better mousetrap,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “We will continue to get better and better at stopping fraud – and the con artists who think they can get away with it should be on notice.”

The StateScoop 50 Awards “highlight the best and brightest in the state IT community,” the organization reported. The awards “honor innovators, innovative initiatives and up-and-coming leaders in state and local government.” Recipients were selected in an online vote open to anyone and marketed to state and local government IT professionals. More than 80,000 votes were cast.

The winners were honored May 4 with a reception at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore during the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference.

The Office of the Comptroller “red flagged” fraudulent tax returns using a new set of identifying metrics that improved the accuracy performance significantly – meaning that returns the system flagged as fraudulent continued to be labeled fraudulent after individual review by expert examiners.

Use of the new strategy also enabled the agency to identify more than 60 tax preparation firms sending a high number of questionable returns. Those firms were then informed that the agency no longer would process returns from them.

StateScoop provides news on state IT activities on its website. It is part of Scoop News Group, which also publishes FedScoop and EdScoop. For more information about the awards, see StateScoop on the web at www.StateScoop.com.

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