State v. Ms. G (DMC 12809) – Felony Benefits Fraud ($8,500 Misappropriated from SNAP), Felony Fraudulent Schemes and Felony Theft – Not Charged – Arizona Department of Economic Security Investigated.
Ms. G was receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on and off for about three years. In her application, she stated she had only between $1000 to $10,000 in savings. In reality, she had a 529 college savings account for her daughter which contained $87,000. She also had a UTMA account for her daughter in the amount of $105,000, and a Roth IRA for her children at $34,000. On top of that, she had a traditional IRA for $132,000, and a mutual fund account for herself which was valued at $150,000.
As she began going through divorce proceedings, she realized that the food stamps issue could become a criminal issue. She updated all of her income on the DES website and she ceased using food stamps. However, the DES saw the change on their website and began investigating her regarding the discrepancies. We then became involved and spoke with a DES Supervisor. During the course of speaking with the Supervisor, we indicated that her true income was basically zero when she started going through her divorce proceedings. We also pointed out that many of these accounts were retirement accounts, college payment accounts, or accounts in her children’s name, and not her name. The supervisor agreed with us and indicated that since she is no longer seeking supplemental nutritional assistance, that they would not view the past use of food stamps as a Benefits Fraud. No charges were ever brought against Ms. G. If they were, it could have seriously affected her ongoing custody battle in her divorce case.