“Their Crime, Your Dime,” a KING 5 investigation of fraud in Washington State’s welfare system, has won a National Emmy for investigative reporting.
The award — for the best investigative series produced by a regional TV news station — was announced earlier this month in New York City.
The award recognizes the work of reporter Chris Ingalls, photographer Steve Douglas, and Executive Producer Kellie Cheadle.
“Their Crime, Your Dime” documented welfare fraud that for many years caused taxpayers to lose tens of millions of dollars. Investigators discovered an extreme lack of oversight of the state and federal welfare programs by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). They found DSHS clients selling food stamps openly for cash, and merchants buying them for half price and doubling their money when the stamps were redeemed.
“It is an honor to work with such a fine investigative team. They define why the job of great journalist will never diminish – they make a difference!” said Ray Heacox, President and General Manager of KING 5 Television.
The series had swift and immediate impact: it prompted a new law that closed many of the loopholes that had been revealed and the state legislature approved $5 million to fund a new fraud prevention squad. In addition, three people identified in the stories were sent to federal prison.