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Nov 20, 2012
Livingston, Tangipahoa Residents Plead Guilty to Food Assistance Fraud
Two Women Illegally Obtained Nearly $21,000 in Ineligible Benefits

BATON ROUGE - An investigation by the Fraud and Recovery Unit at the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has led to two women pleading guilty to charges of obtaining nearly $21,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

"Cases such as these should serve as a warning to anyone who is fraudulently claiming benefits," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "DCFS will use all of its available tools, include the latest in technology and resources, to track down those who choose to break the law and will seek prosecution to the fullest extent possible. "

Angelique Lowery of Denham Springs pled guilty to illegally receiving $7,722 in SNAP benefits after failing to report her husband as a household member. Lowery was sentenced in the 21st Judicial District Court to five years of supervised probation. She was ordered to pay fines, fees, court costs and restitution in the amount of $7,722.00 to DCFS.

Sonja Cook of Tickfaw was sentenced in 21st Judicial District Court and placed on two years of supervised probation. Cook was ordered to make full restitution to DCFS. She illegally obtained $13,270 in SNAP benefits after failing to report her husband as a household member.

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.

Individuals are encouraged to report cases of suspected fraud in SNAP, Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program, the Child Care Assistance Program or the Kinship Care Program by calling the DCFS toll-free hot line at 1-888-LAHELP-U and selecting option 7 from the main menu or by visiting http://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/reportfraud.

SNAP is administered in Louisiana by DCFS and overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Read more about recipients' rights.

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