FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2011
(225) 342-9640 (o) DCFS Investigations Lead to Three Arrests for Assistance Fraud Individuals failed to report household members to collect more than $42,000 in ineligible benefits
BATON ROUGE - A Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation has resulted in the arrests of three individuals in St. Tammany and Livingston Parishes. They are accused of defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called Food Stamps, and other DCFS assistance programs of more than $42,000 by failing to report household members and by providing falsified verification in order to obtain ineligible benefits.
"DCFS has zero tolerance for fraud and abuse, and we will continue to work diligently to root out and recover benefits obtained fraudulently to preserve assistance for children and families who are truly in need," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson.
Wendy Bouey, also known as Wendy Williams, age 30, of Covington was arrested and charged with Felony Theft of Government Assistance for failing to report her spouse as a household member in order to receive $22,211 in ineligible SNAP benefits between January 2006 to February 2007 and from November 2008 to April 2011.
Tracey Lehmann, 30, of North Albany was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for failing to report the father of her children, Jared Tullos, as a household member in order to obtain $20,090 in benefits between January 2009 and November 2010. Programs involved were SNAP, the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), Strategies to Empower People (STEP) and the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Jared Tullos also was arrested and charged with Felony Theft for providing falsified verification to DCFS to assist Lehmann in obtaining ineligible benefits.
DCFS' Fraud and Recovery Unit investigated these cases, which were referred by the DCFS offices in St. Tammany and Livingston Parishes. Arrests were made by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
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.
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