DCF: Hospital worker collected thousands in assistance money, lived in spacious home

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APOPKA, Fla. —

An Apopka man bonded out of jail after investigators say he was collecting tens of thousands of dollars in public assistance benefits illegally.

Mohabir Nandram, who lives in a large home and works at Florida Hospital, told the Department of Children and Families he wasn't making any money and needed the assistance.

Nandram got away with it for an entire year.

DCF said the reason he wasn't caught sooner is the combination of the 200 percent increase in cases and the extensive investigation process.

It let Nandram take the money for that long.

Nandram's wife said she was unaware of her husband illegally collecting public assistance benefits until deputies came knocking on the door of their Apopka home.

She said he was not working at that time. Investigators said otherwise.

Reports show while working at Florida Hospital, Nandram illegally received nearly $6,700 in food stamps, over $6,300 in cash and just under $18,000 in Medicaid benefits – a $31,000 loss to taxpayers.

It is upsetting to John Storm, who was once homeless and is now receiving assistance to rent an 8-by-10 foot room, a far cry from Nandram's 4,000-square-foot-home.

"They're telling me the guidelines are strict and that's all I can get is $31 in food stamps and $710 a month. It isn't even enough to live on. He shouldn't be capitalizing on it," Storm said.

Channel 9 tried to talk to Nandram Thursday night, but his wife said he suddenly picked up an extra shift at the hospital where he still works.

According to reports, Nandram checked in every six months with DCF, which administers the benefits, and said he had absolutely no income.

DCF put a red flag on the account after it realized he was paying hundreds of dollars a month in bills, but couldn't explain where the money was coming from.

"That's just wrong, there's no two ways about it," Storm said.

Florida Hospital did not confirm if Nandram is still working there.

DCF said it will be unveiling new ways to catch fraud cases like this sooner.

As for Nandram, he will have to pay back the money.