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"In all cases involving fraud and abuse in the public assistance programs administered by DCFS, we are committed to prosecute individuals to the fullest extent of the law and to seek restitution for losses to ensure that critical funding that provides a means for Louisiana families and children to have nutritious food on their tables is preserved for those who are truly in need," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson.
The St. Tammany Parish District Attorney has agreed to prosecute 16 individuals involved in the 12 household composition cases, meaning that in each case, the head of household applied for benefits and failed to report their spouse in the home. The spouse had income that should have been reported and had it been reported, the household would not have been eligible for the benefits received. Evidence in four of the 12 cases was sufficient to pursue charges against the recipient (head of household) and his or her spouse for conspiring to commit fraud.
"This effort was designed to ensure that people who truly need help aren't forgotten because of the fraud committed by able-bodied people who just want something for nothing," said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain. "I think we've gone a long way toward making that happen," Strain said.
The arrests include the following for programs including SNAP, the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP):
Loss and Program
|Lionel Duplessis||$14,617.00 (SNAP)||Covington|
|Jennifer Sanders||$19,103.00 (SNAP)||Mandeville
|Kendra Bates||$10,766.00 (SNAP & CCAP)||Ponchatoula|
|Michelle Harvey||$12,463.00 (SNAP)||Slidell|
|Marquita Rattley||$22,054.00 (SNAP & CCAP)||Slidell|
|Kristal Wilcox||$14,669.00 (SNAP)||Mandeville|
|Cynthia Graham||$7,307.00 (SNAP)||Covington|
|Angle Clay||$6,031.00 (SNAP & FITAP)||Pearl River|
|$15,288.00 (SNAP & FITAP)||Pearl River|
|$42,318.39 (SNAP & CCAP)||Slidell|
To date this fiscal year, DCFS, with the cooperation of local, state and federal officials, has recovered more than $2.2 million from individuals who have committed fraud and abuse in assistance programs. All monies are federal that are passed through the state for distribution.
To report suspected illegal receipt of public assistance benefits or illegal use of an EBT card, call the toll-free Public Assistance Fraud Hotline at 1-800-256-3150. To learn more, visit www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/reportfraud.
SNAP is administered in Louisiana by DCFS and overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Read more about recipients' rights.