FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paul Ladd, (615) 313-4707


DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES UNCOVERS FRAUD; INDICTMENTS ISSUED


NASHVILLE - The Davidson County Grand Jury has issued 44 sealed indictments for people charged with Food Stamp and Families First fraud. Among those indicted are five third-time offenders, two second-time offenders and one fourth-time offender.

The average amount of each case is $5000, representing about $250,000 in fraudulent activity. One of the cases in the current round of indictments involves $10,000 in fraud, and another involves $7000. Some of the alleged offenders have been working in facilities that contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS).

"This is just part of an ongoing operation statewide to crack down on Food Stamp and welfare fraud," said Larry Evitts, Director of Investigations for DHS.

Food Stamp fraud is a Class E felony, meaning those convicted can receive a minimum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $5000. Welfare fraud is also a Class E felony, which carries a one-year minimum prison term and a fine of up to $10,000.

Last year, DHS investigators identified $7.5 million in Food Stamp and welfare fraud. Approximately two million of this was uncovered in Davidson and surrounding counties of Middle Tennessee.

Evitts said more indictments are on the way. "We have investigations before special grand juries in middle Tennessee, outside Davidson County," he stated. "We're committed to putting the brakes on welfare and Food Stamp fraud, and saving money for the taxpayers."