FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2011
(225) 342-9640 (o) DCFS Investigations Lead to Arrests, Conviction for Assistance Fraud Individuals failed to report household composition and income to collect more than $40,000 in ineligible benefits
BATON ROUGE - A Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation has resulted in the arrest of four individuals in Webster, Caddo and East Baton Rouge parishes, along with an individual sentenced after pleading guilty. They are accused of defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called Food Stamps, of more than $40,000 by failing to report household members and by providing falsified verification in order to obtain ineligible benefits.
"DCFS remains vigilant and committed to monitoring and investigating all cases of suspected fraud and abuse within our public assistance roles," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "Fraudulent activity will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Those arrested include:
Tamaka Welsh, 30, of Baton Rouge was arrested and charged with felony theft for failing to report the father of her children as a household member.
By concealing her true household composition and income, Welsh obtained $17,748 in SNAP benefits that she was not entitled to from July 2007 to December 2007, March 2008 to May 2008 and August 2009 to December 2010. Arrest was made by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.
Amy Pullig, 34, of Minden was arrested and charged with felony theft for failing to report her husband, Dustin Shaffer, as a household member. By concealing her true household composition and income, Pullig obtained $12,555 in SNAP benefits that she was not entitled from July 2007 to May 2010. Arrest was made by the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office.
Kemmitha Gipson, 37, of Minden was arrested and charged with felony theft for failing to report her household's employment in order to obtain $5,273 in SNAP benefits from December 2008 to October 2009 and February 2010 to April 2010. Arrest was made by the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office.
Linda Taylor, 38 of Shreveport was arrested and charged with felony theft for failing to report her employment. By concealing her true household income, Taylor obtained $4,040 in SNAP benefits from May 2009 to November 2010. Arrest was made by the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.
Rinadia Young, 27 of Shreveport was sentenced on October 24 in the 1st
Judicial District Court to pay court costs or serve 30 days in jail, to serve six months in the parish jail, which was suspended. In addition, Young will be placed on two years of supervised probation, on condition that she pay $55 per month supervision fee and make full restitution to DCFS.
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.
DCFS' Fraud and Recovery Unit investigated these cases, which were referred by the local DCFS offices.
Last fiscal year, DCFS, with the cooperation of local, state and federal official, 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