It can be surprising to realize how easily multiple small thefts can add up. The Indianapolis Star Tribune details how an all-women crime ring in Indiana stole more than $100,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
The connecting factor in the scheme was a woman who worked for the contractor that administers SNAP benefits. Through fraud and forgery, she pilfered nearly $80,000 from the government program. (That’s a lot of ”supplemental” calories…) A second woman, who also worked for the contractor through a temporary staffing company, was found to have illegally received hundreds of dollars’ worth of the benefits. A third woman in the ring submitted forged documents in order to steal more than $20,000 in SNAP benefits. A fourth is alleged to have submitted forged documents to receive $1,646 in SNAP benefits to which she was not entitled, and faces multiple felony charges, such as forgery, perjury, theft and welfare fraud. (If this EVER becomes a reality show concept, let’s tune out.)
Three of the women have pleaded guilty so far. The SNAP administrator pleaded guilty to felony charges of welfare fraud and forgery, for which she will serve two years in community corrections and four years of probation and also must pay back the full $79,489 that she stole. The state dismissed eight felony charges against the woman who was a temporary employee of the SNAP management company, after she pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft. She will be on probation for one and a half years and must repay the $577 she stole. (Her paltry ”take” compared to that of her cohorts might explain this lesser punishment.) The third woman pleaded guilty to felony charges of welfare fraud and theft, in exchange for the dismissal of nine other felony counts, and will serve two years of probation, 80 hours of community service and must repay the $20,160 she stole before the end of the her probationary period. If she fails to do so, the remaining sum will convert into a civil judgment, for which she would be fully liable.
SNAP acts as a hunger safety net, and exists solely to ensure that the poorest and hungriest Americans are able to eat. People who work with and around SNAP are fully conscious of this mandate, which makes those who deliberately steal from the hungry even more unappetizing and unethical.
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”2 Indianapolis women plead guilty in $101,872 welfare fraud scheme,” written by Marisa Kwiatkowski and published by The Indianapolis Star on March 1, 2016.
Three Indianapolis women have admitted to their involvement in a $101,872 welfare scheme. Debera Anderson pleaded guilty to felony counts of welfare fraud and theft. She submitted forged documents to receive $20,160 in SNAP benefits to which she was not entitled. She was sentenced to two years of probation, 80 hours of community service and $20,160 in restitution.
Laquisha Flowers pleaded guilty to felony theft for receiving $577 in SNAP benefits to which she wasn’t entitled and she was sentenced to a year and a half of probation and $577 in restitution.
Leticia Falconer pleaded guilty to felony charges of welfare fraud and forgery. She was sentenced to two years in community corrections, followed by four years of probation. She also was ordered to repay $79,489.