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Aug 11, 2010 11:18 AM by Melissa Canone

State Workers Charged With Theft of More than $50,000 in Food Stamp Benefits

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A sixth defendant has pleaded guilty in
the federal government's ongoing investigation into disaster food
stamp fraud.
Dorothy Reedom, who had worked for the Department of Social
Services' Office of Family Support in St. Mary Parish, pleaded
guilty Monday to theft of public money, property or records,
according to plea filings released Tuesday.
Reedom is one of 13 state workers charged in a 57-count
indictment involving the theft of more than $50,000 in federal food
stamp benefits from 2005 to 2008.
Reedom and others, including Marich Anderson, the former St.
Mary Parish 911 director, are accused of fraudulently obtaining and
using the money for themselves, family and friends after hurricanes
Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike.
Reedom is the sixth person to enter a guilty plea since a
federal grand jury handed up indictments in November.
In entering a plea, Reedom follows Anderson, Laura Wells, Andrea
Broussard, Barbara Sanders and Barbara Sonia.
Wells and Broussard both worked for the DSS Office of Family
Support in St. Mary Parish. Sanders served as area manager for the
state Department of Health and Hospitals in St. Mary Parish. Sonia
was a St. Mary Parish DHH employee.
In the factual basis for her plea, Reedom acknowledged signing
an official document stating that she interviewed a participant to
verify eligibility.
The participant was Laura Wells, who fraudulently acquired a
food stamp card by using her son's Social Security number.
Reedom acknowledged that she signed the document knowing that
she had not interviewed the person. Wells ultimately received and
used the card, valued at $426, the filing states.
Reedom faces a possible maximum prison sentence of one year and
a fine of $100,000.
Wells, Broussard, Sanders Anderson and Sonia all face possible
maximum sentences of up to 20 years.
Sanders, Wells and Broussard are scheduled to be sentenced Aug.
30.
Sentencing dates have not yet been set for Reedom, Anderson and
Sonia.

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