Shreveport woman among 12 people convicted of DCFS fraud - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Shreveport woman among 12 people convicted of DCFS fraud

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The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services announced Friday that its Fraud and Recovery Unit investigation has led to the conviction and sentencing of 12 Louisiana residents who received more than $120,000 in ineligible benefits.

Authorities say Dawn Lyons of Shreveport pled guilty to illegally obtaining $3,710 in SNAP benefits after concealing her employment income. Lyons was sentenced in the 26th Judicial District Court to six months in the parish jail, which was suspended, and placed on one year supervised probation.

Lyons was ordered to pay a $500 fine, all court costs, a monthly supervision fee and make full restitution to DCFS in the amount of $3,710.

The DCFS Fraud and Recovery Unit has recovered nearly $1.3 million from ineligible DCFS program recipients since July 2012.

"These cases should serve as a warning to anyone fraudulently claiming public assistance benefits," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Anyone suspected of committing fraud will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

According to Sonnier, DCFS uses a number of tools to identify potential fraud of benefits, including cross matching information with federal and other state agencies and its award-winning Geographic Information System technology.

Here are the other Louisiana residents who were convicted and sentenced.

Brandi Boyette of Walker pled guilty to illegally obtaining $22,704 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) benefits after failing to report the father of her children as a household member. Boyette was sentenced in the 21st Judicial District Court to two years supervised probation, ordered to pay fines, fees and court costs, and make full restitution in the amount of $22,704 to DCFS.

Lisa Gauthier of Slidell obtained $18,371 in ineligible SNAP benefits after failing to report her husband as a household member. Gauthier was sentenced in the 22nd Judicial District Court to 10 years, which was suspended, placed on five years supervised probation and ordered to make full restitution to DCFS in the amount of $18,371.

Wendy Gregorio of Franklinton pled guilty to illegally obtaining $17,364 in ineligible SNAP benefits after concealing her husband as a household member. Gregorio was sentenced in the 22nd Judicial District Court to five years probation, ordered to pay court costs and a $750 fine, perform community service and make full restitution in the amount of $17,364 to DCFS.

Stephanie and Matthew Thibodeaux of Walker obtained $14,302 in ineligible SNAP benefits after Mrs. Thibodeaux failed to report her husband as a household member and Mr. Thibodeaux provided false verifications to DCFS in an effort to assist his wife in receiving these benefits. The Thibodeauxs were sentenced in the 21st Judicial District Court to six months parish jail time, which was suspended, placed on one year probation, ordered to pay court costs, public defender fee and supervisory fee, and make full restitution to DCFS in the amount of $14,302.

Kanika Warren of Rayville was sentenced in the Fifth Judicial District Court to seven years hard labor, which was suspended, and placed on five years supervised probation after illegally obtaining $11,437 in SNAP benefits. Warren received these benefits after under-reporting her income, failing to report her husband as a household member and his employment income, and claiming her brother as a household member while he was incarcerated. Warren was ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $11,437 to DCFS.

Vanessa Harding of Edgard was charged with Food Stamp Fraud, but pled guilty to a lesser charge of theft under $500 after illegally obtaining $9,074 in SNAP benefits. Harding received these benefits after failing to report her income. She was sentenced in the St. John Parish District Court to 24 months supervised probation and ordered to pay court costs, $290 to the Indigent Defender Board and full restitution to DCFS in the amount $9,074.

Lisa Alexander of Covington was sentenced in the 22nd Judicial District Court to five years probation after illegally obtaining $8,496 in SNAP benefits. Alexander received these benefits after concealing income from a business. She was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, monthly supervision fee and court costs, submit to random drug screenings at her expense, and make full restitution in the amount of $8,496 to DCFS.

Beverly Banks of East Baton Rouge pled guilty to obtaining $6,793 in ineligible SNAP benefits after claiming an individual who was not a member of her household. Banks was sentenced in the 19th Judicial District Court to five years, which was suspended, placed on five years supervised probation, must submit to random drug screenings, pay court costs and a $300 fine, perform 100 hours of community service and make full restitution to DCFS in the amount of $6,793.

Sandra Carroll of Wiggins, Mississippi, formerly of Oak Grove, was sentenced in the Fifth Judicial District Court to three years hard labor, which was suspended, placed on four years federal probation after obtaining $4,845 in ineligible SNAP benefits after concealing her household income. Carroll was ordered to make full restitution in the amount of $4,845 to DCFS.

Jacob Middleton of Oak Grove illegally obtained $3,265 in SNAP benefits after using an incorrect social security number to avoid reporting his employment income. Middleton was sentenced in the Fifth Judicial District Court to serve five years hard labor, which was suspended, placed on five years supervised probation and ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $3,265.34 to DCFS.

Individuals are encouraged to report cases of suspected SNAP, CCAP, Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or the Kinship Care Program (KCSP) fraud by calling the DCFS toll-free hotline at 1-888-LAHELP-U and selecting option 7 from the main menu or by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/ReportFraud.

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