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In Delaware last Wednesday, 7 women were indicted for issuing nearly $1,000,000 in fraudulent benefits. Two of the women Jo Ellen Edwards, 61, and Shirlene Davis, 29, still remain at large.

While working for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services the ladies were responsible for issuing Electronic Benefit Cards (EBTs), which food stamps recipients use for purchases.

According to Delaware attorney Matt Denn, this comes as part of an intensified effort to prevent fraud from being committed against the state’s public benefits program. In a press conference, Denn explained how the ring worked:

"Based on internal audits conducted by DHSS’s Audit and Recovery Management Services, investigators learned of fictitious and unauthorized EBT accounts created by Division of Social Services case workers responsible for case creation and maintenance, with each of the fraudulently created cases issued varying amounts of food benefits in the form of EBT cards.

The investigation revealed that the fraudulent EBT cards were delivered to State Service Centers in New Castle and Kent County, and intercepted by the suspects working at those locations. Once intercepted, the cards were personally used or sold at a discount."

What is unclear at this point is how 7 government employees were able to swindle nearly $1,000,000 from Delaware taxpayers before prosecutors finally noticed the fraudulent behavior.

Not exactly a revolutionary scheme, this story begs the question: just how easy is it to take advantage of the public benefits system?Fox




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