Food Stamp fraud defendants face judge - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Food Stamp fraud defendants face judge

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October 5, 2004

Albany-- A half dozen South Georgians may be headed to jail for food stamp fraud. They're accused of taking food stamps they weren't entitled to, and Tuesday they faced a judge.

Seven people stand before a Judge, accused of not paying back money they owed the food stamp program. District Attorney Office Prosecutor Brumby Dwyer said "There is a huge amount of money across the State every year that is lost."

Most of the people owe an average of $400. Some had not made payments in three years. Judge Loring Gray sentenced them all to ten days in jail. But that jail time was suspended if they made their payments on time.

Dwyer said "We bring them here to stave off any criminal proceedings, and try to give them one more opportunity to make good on their payments before criminal proceedings are initiated."

State budget cuts have impacted food stamp recipients, and DFACS is cutting down on fraud to make ends meet. Dwyer said "Millions of dollars across the state are lost to this, and that is why making such an effort to recover this money."

All these cases were civil. If these people don't make their payments on time, they could be called back to criminal court next time.

Anyone found guilty of food stamp fraud in Georgia could face ten years in jail.

posted at 4:25PM by dave.miller@walb.com