Inspector General Investigation Leads To Food Stamp Fraud Conviction

DES Director Timothy Jeffries announced the recent felony conviction of Ms. Brenda Lee Brown of Lake Havasu City for unlawful use of food stamps and theft. Ms. Brown’s conviction is the result of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit fraud investigation conducted by the DES Office of the Inspector General.

“Food stamp fraud is not a victimless crime,” said Jeffries. “To steal benefits that could be used by children and families in need is a crime against the poor. The act is vile and deplorable. I applaud the work of our fraud investigators, and promise that DES will be relentless in its pursuit of those who steal benefits from those in need.”

On January 4, 2016, Ms. Brown was found guilty of unlawful use of food stamps and theft. She was sentenced in Mohave County Superior Court to thirty days in jail, three years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution to DES in the amount of $14,085. During the course of the investigation, the DES Office of Inspector General found that Ms. Brown had submitted falsified information to DES regarding household composition and income in order to unlawfully obtain SNAP benefits.

“The Office of Inspector General (OIG) will work vigorously to maintain the integrity of DES programs and services,” said Inspector General Juan J. Arcellana. “This investigation, and the resulting criminal sentence, is an example of the hard work of all those committed to combatting the efforts of those who seek to defraud.”

To report abuse of food stamps or other DES public benefits, call the Department’s toll free hotline at 1-800-251-2436, or locally at 602-542-9449.