A new report outlines millions of dollars in fraud and abuse in Louisiana's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The report, obtained from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office Monday, shows abuse in some cases by prisoners, even drug felons, and taxpayers are footing the bill.
SNAP is the state's old food stamp program, and it was intended to help eligible low-income households buy the food they need for good health. But according to the auditor's report, 1,761 incarcerated participants of the program received benefits totaling $1,107,740 between the years 2011 and 2012.
84 drug felons redeemed more than $100,000 in benefits in that same period.
1,500 recipients duplicated benefits in Louisiana and other state from 2010 to 2011.
And in that same period, the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services identified over 1,100 cases with over $840,000 in overpaid benefits because of agency errors.
In a statement released Monday in response to the report, DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier said, "DCFS takes seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of the resources provided. DCFS is reviewing all the cases cited in the report for potential fraud and will work with authorities to prosecute those who have purposely tried to defraud the system. We will also forward any cases involving retailers to the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service who monitors and investigates retailers."
The auditor's office made four recommendations for DCFS to crack down on reported cases of fraud. One of them suggests tightening up it's accountability systems, including timely communications with the Department of Corrections.