It’s now an even two dozen state employees who have been suspected of filing false information on their post-Irene food stamp applications.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office announced Monday that an additional nine state employees have been referred for disciplinary hearings for alleged fraud. That’s in addition to the 15 state employees, already referred to state agency heads last week.

Disciplinary hearings will begin as early as this week for some employees. The number of state employees under investigation will be updated on a weekly basis.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for the misuse or abuse of government programs in this administration,” Malloy said in a press release. “While the addition of nine administrative hearings is troubling, I want the residents of Connecticut to know that this is an ongoing investigation, and I am determined to leave no stone unturned. In addition to losing their jobs, anyone caught defrauding our government will be referred immediately to the proper authorities. The days of looking the other way are over.”

The news of the additional nine employees comes after the Hartford Courant reported this weekend that amongst those suspected of defrauding the federally funded program are four state troopers.

Malloy said anyone wishing to report fraud and abuse anonymously may contact the Office of the Auditors of Public Accounts. He said since the investigation began state employees have been calling his office to report “unethical practices.”

“The Office of the Auditors of Public Accounts, which is operated under the management of the state legislature, has a whistleblower unit designed to protect the identities of anyone who makes such a report,“ Malloy said. “I strongly urge any Connecticut resident who is aware of misuse or misappropriation of public funds and wants to remain anonymous to contact that office, understanding that their identities will be protected.”

Tips can be submitted either in writing or by telephone to:

State of Connecticut Auditors of Public Accounts
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Toll free: (800) 797-1702
Locally: (860) 240-5305