Down South Duo

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36419152 - judge looking the condemned prisoner in the court room

In the ”Big Easy,” you can take a walk down the busy streets of NOLA, catching beads and sipping drinks, or venture to the swampy depths to hunt alligator or pack the stadium to cheer on the football team. From the Cajun spices to the voodoo lifestyle to the southern belles, you’re bound to find something to strike your fancy. Today’s Fraud of the Day from KLFY.com makes it clear that Louisiana isn’t just a place for locals and tourists to taste the treasures of the South; it’s also a place to be on the lookout for fraud.

Two defendants have found themselves on supervised probation, a result of a fraudulent scam gone wrong. In separate investigations by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the two fraudsters found themselves caught in a couple lies worthy of government punishment. The authorities discovered that the women failed to tell officials with the DCFS that their husbands were living with them. (Oh, THAT husband. Yes, I forgot that he lived with me.) To be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), applicants must accurately report key information, such as income, employment and household composition. By failing to disclose the true number of people living in their respective households, the defendants committed fraud.

The court ordered them to pay a combined total of nearly $21,000 in restitution – about the amount they had collectively stolen. One fraudster owes the government $7,722 and will serve five years probation, while the other one owes $13,270; she will serve two years of probation. (All they get is probation and restitution? Don’t you think a slap on the wrist may encourage more fraudulent activity?)

In a statement of warning to other food stamp fraudsters by the secretary of the DCFS, as seen in a CTPost article, ”DCFS will use all of its available tools, including the latest in technology and resources, to track down those who choose to break the law and will seek prosecution to the fullest extent possible.”

Whether you neglected to mention your husband lived with you, or lied about your income or employment, committing fraud by omission is still fraud. The DCFS clearly gets this and is out to prosecute offenders. Food stamp fraudsters in the ”Big Easy” should keep that in mind, next time they decide to ”forget” their spouses.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Food Stamp Fraud,” published by the KLFY.com on November 21, 2012.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Two women are on supervised probation and must repay a total of nearly $21,000 received through food stamp fraud.

The Department of Children and Family Services says Angelique Lowery of Denham Springs and Sonja Cook of Tickfaw both pleaded guilty to defrauding the program by failing to report that their husbands were living with them.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.