It’s easy to think that the fraudulent heist of a few thousand dollars in government benefits is not a big deal. But, when there are thousands of people capitalizing on benefits they don’t deserve, it all adds up to more than you think. An article posted on WAFB.com details the convictions of 11 Louisiana residents who tried to scam the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) of more than $81,000 in government benefits.
The story goes into detail about the fraudsters who attempted to defraud the two government programs through a variety of ways, including: misrepresenting household income; concealing the presence of a spouse and their earnings; underreporting or misrepresenting income; falsifying wage verification forms; and, concealing employment. (One defendant used the identity of another person to receive SNAP benefits, while another misrepresented his household composition, stating that his wife was actually his sister. Now that’s pretty creative.)
Punishment for the crimes ranged from six months to nine months of unsupervised probation to one to five years of supervised probation. Other penalties included paying fines, fees, court costs, as well as full restitution to the two government programs.
All of the fraudsters were disqualified from participating in the program from which they were convicted of illegally gaining benefits for at least 12 months. (This is normal procedure for first-time offenders.) Second-time offenders are routinely suspended for 24 months and per federal regulations, while third-time offenders are permanently disqualified from the program. (This seems lenient. Why not just ban after the first offense?)
These 11 convictions show how serious the government is about protecting American taxpayers and the benefits programs that are intended to serve those people who need it the most. Great strides have been made toward identifying suspicious activity and tracking down those criminals who are bent on lining their pockets with benefits they don’t deserve. (The message is loud and clear to anyone thinking about stealing from the government you will be caught.)
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”11 Louisiana Residents Convicted of SNAP, CCAP Fraud,” written by Amber Stegall and posted on WAFB.com on September 30, 2014.
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) announces the convictions of 11 Louisiana residents who fraudulently received more than $81,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) benefits.
“DCFS has a zero tolerance for fraud,” said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. “I am very glad to see that these men and women who concealed information or lied in order to obtain benefits were not only identified and prosecuted, but ultimately convicted of fraud in a court of law.”