Food stamp fraud crack down - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Food stamp fraud crack down

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July 31, 2003

Albany -- Department of Human Resources officials say food stamp fraud is a widespread problem. More than 4 and a half millions dollars in fraud was found in Georgia last year. Now the state is demanding that money be paid back.

Two Albany women were found in contempt for not making payments ordered by the court nearly a year and a half ago. Both women had admitted defrauding the state of more than 3 thousand dollars in food stamps, and were ordered to make monthly refund payments.

Cassandra Strong had only made one 50-dollar payment since February 2002. She was ordered to spend five days in jail, if she could not pay 340 dollars toward her repayment.

District Attorney Ken Hodges said "If you obtain money by fraud, we are going to come back and get those moneys. We're going to use the civil means through the contempt proceedings or if that doesn't work we will use the criminal prosecution. But if you obtain money by fraud here in Dougherty County we are going to come back and get the money."

Elvina Anderson was also found in contempt for never making a payment since her order in September 2002. Anderson was fined 50 dollars and had her payment schedule adjusted.

District Attorney Ken Hodges said there are many similar cases of people not paying back food stamp fraud. Hodges said "But those that chose to ignore us we have no remedy other than the court systems."

Department of Human Resources enforcement officers say they are checking more than 350 cases of admitted fraud violators who are not now making repayments in South Georgia.

posted at 4:23 by jimw@walb.com