Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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More food stamp users disqualified after misuse

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BATON ROUGE - State officials said more people have been disqualified from the food stamps program due to abuse during an outage last fall, bringing the total up to 13.

The Department of Child and Family Services said they're still going after 500 of the most extreme cases of misuse, some of which include $300 to $2,000 in fraudulent charges.

First-time offenders of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program, or SNAP, are disqualified for 12 months.

DCFS said it's collecting evidence that could result in criminal state charges for card holders and others involved.

"We can pursue very strong criminal penalties. We also have mandatory reporter laws that require people, if you know someone in that household is committing fraud in the SNAP program, you're required to report that. Retailers are also required to report," said Suzy Sonnier.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said any criminal prosecution will stop the civil actions by DCFS, so that will have to wait. He also says there's no time limit to start criminal prosecution.



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