Covering Louisiana

Jun 6, 2014 3:45 PM by AP

5 arrested in benefits fraud roundup

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Five women are accused of using the names of deceased relatives and other false information in order to obtain Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or other public assistance following 2012's Hurricane Isaac.

Casey Rayborn-Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, said Friday that in custody are: 57-year-old Louvanna Pope; 55-year-old Juanita Russell; 49-year-old Flora Williams; 45-year-old Demetria Ayio and 27-year-old Sarah Sonnier. All of the women are from the Baton Rouge area. Each faces charges of felony theft by fraud.

Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reports the women allegedly claimed a deceased relative as part of their households and underreported their incomes to get a total of $3,000 in benefits.

It was not immediately known if any of the suspects had an attorney.

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