Five accused of hurricane benefits fraud
BATON ROUGE - Sheriff's deputies arrested five people recently who are accused of using dead relatives or other false information to get public assistance following Hurricane Isaac in 2012.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies arrested 27-year-old Sarah Sonnier of Baton Rouge, 57-year-old Louvanna Pope of Baker, 55-year-old Juanita Russell of Baton Rouge, 45-year-old Demetria Ayio of Baton Rouge, and 49-year-old Flora Williams of Baton Rouge, all on suspicion of felony theft Friday morning.
The Department of Children and Family Services turned over the five's names to EBRSO as part of an investigation into benefits fraud earlier this week. DCFS said all five claimed dead relatives as part of their households to get several hundreds dollars' worth of DSNAP or other public assistance each. Investigators said Pope also claimed an incarcerated relative as part of her household.
"Cases such as this should serve as a warning that fraudulent activity is not tolerated in any of DCFS' programs, which are intended to provide assistance to children and families. Anyone suspected of committing fraud will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.", according to DCFS Chief of Staff Tia Embaugh.
Deputies booked all five into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail Friday morning.