It’s fair to say the majority of people trying to defraud the system try to fly under the radar. That’s not the case in today’s Fraud of the Day in which a New Orleans woman repeatedly called state benefit workers to check on the status of her benefits. According to a recent Times-Picayune piece, that was but one of a few missteps made by the woman who defrauded Louisiana welfare programs out of more than $15,000.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the criminal and the state don’t quite agree on the details of the case. Her side: a picture of a single mother made desperate by Hurricane Katrina, claiming that in 2006 she was going through some hard times and that she first applied for food stamps in 2009 at the suggestion of a caseworker. The state’s side: prosecutors allege that her first application attempt wasn’t until 2011 when the? denied her initial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits application after she (perhaps naively, but truthfully) disclosed a non-qualifying financial status; the following year, she excluded her employment details (perhaps not so naively) from her second application. It is undisputed that she began receiving SNAP benefits in 2012, but only the woman believes she deserved those benefits.
Spoiler alert: She got caught, and the employees she berated testified against her.
An investigation by the District Attorney found that the woman had illegally received $11,954 in SNAP benefits and $3,477 from the state’s Child Care Assistance Program. After she twice refused the District Attorney’s offers to avoid prosecution by enrolling in its Pre-Trial Intervention Program, she was tried and sentenced to two years in prison, suspended pending her successful completion of two years of probation. (Bet she wishes she took the deal now)
Everyone falls on tough circumstances at some point. And, when that happens, we always root for the underdog to make lemons out of lemonade and get beyond the difficult times. Unfortunately, in this case, the defendant chose to defraud well-meaning government programs for those who really need their services. Hopefully, probation does the trick and she learns her lesson.
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Consultant with Ph.D. guilty of food stamp fraud,” written by Kim Chatelain and published by The Times-Picayune on January 22, 2016.
A 51-year-old Franklinton woman who has a doctorate degree and runs a private consulting firm has been found guilty of felony theft for fraudulently collecting more than $15,000 in food stamps and child care assistance. Kera E. Moseley, whose firm had contracts with several state agencies, was tried in December before 22nd Judicial District Judge Martin E. Coady, who took the matter under study.
After announcing the guilty verdict Wednesday (Jan. 20), Coady sentenced Moseley to two years in prison but suspended the sentence pending her completion of two years of active probation.