FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2011
(225) 342-9640 (o)
DCFS Investigations Lead to Eight Arrests on Charges of Felony Theft for Nutrition Assistance Fraud
Individuals failed to report spouses and household members to collect more than $56,000 in ineligible benefits
BATON ROUGE - A Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation has resulted in the arrests of eight individuals in Livingston Parish accused of defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) of nearly $56,000 by failing to report spouses and other household members and by providing falsified verification in order to obtain ineligible benefits.
"DCFS works diligently to root out and investigate cases of suspected fraud and abuse in the public assistance programs administered by our agency, and we are committed to the prosecution to the fullest extent of the law all those who seek to defraud these programs intended to provide critical nutrition and other assistance to children and families who truly are in need," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson.
Holly Solieau, 30, of Walker was arrested and charged with Felony Theft of Government Assistance for failing to report the father of her children as a household member in order to receive $20,146 in ineligible SNAP benefits for 11 months in 2007 and from January 2008 to March 2011.
Shanea Jones-Norris, 39, of Denham Springs was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for failing to report her spouse, Bradley Norris, as a household member in order to obtain $11,870 in SNAP benefits between January 2009 and September 2010 and from February to April 2011. Bradley Norris also was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for providing falsified verification to DCFS in obtaining ineligible SNAP benefits
Crystal Reeves, 30, of Springfield was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for failing to report her spouse as a household member in order to obtain $10,429 in SNAP benefits from January 2008 to January 2010.
Rebecca Coats, 33, of Denham Springs was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for failing to report her spouse as a household member and obtaining $9,152 in SNAP benefits she was not entitled to between August 2009 and March 2011. Her mother, Melissa Calloway, also was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for providing falsified verification to DCFS in an effort to assist her daughter in obtaining the ineligible benefits.
Kellie Germany, 39, of Walker was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for failing to report her spouse, Joseph Germany, as a household member in order to obtain $4,669 in SNAP benefits she was not entitled to from October 2008 to April 2009 and from June 2009 to May 2010. Joseph Germany also was arrested and charged for providing falsified verification to DCFS in order to obtain the ineligible SNAP benefits.
DCFS' Fraud and Recovery Unit investigated these cases, which were referred by the DCFS office in Livingston Parish. Arrests were made by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
According to Johnson, DCFS seeks to recover ineligible benefits from individuals who receive them due to fraud or error by intercepting federal income tax refunds, withholding eligible benefits through recoupment or through administrative or court ordered repayment.
Last fiscal year, DCFS, with the cooperation of local, state and federal officials, has recovered more than $2.8 million from individuals who have committed fraud and abuse in federal assistance programs. All are federal monies that are passed through the state for distribution.
To report suspected illegal receipt of public assistance benefits or illegal use of an EBT card, call toll-free 1-888-LAHELP-U (1-888-524-3578) and select option 7 from the main menu. To learn more, visit www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/reportfraud