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(AJC) — Georgia officials didn’t apply for federal stimulus funding to help struggling low-income families keep their homes until more than a year after Congress made the money available through the Recovery Act.

Now they are scrambling to distribute about $7.6 million of this aid before a federal Sept. 30 deadline. Any stimulus money left unspent by that deadline is supposed to go back to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund.

Citizens Against Government Waste says spending so much federal taxpayer money that quickly in Georgia is a recipe for fraud. And an official from a nonprofit agency working with the program said officials have caught applicants colluding with landlords and submitting fake invoices for the aid.

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