BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Officials said six people have been disqualified from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for trying to spend more money than was available in their accounts during a system failure in October.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said those recipients "attempted to intentionally and grossly misuse taxpayer dollars by using their EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards to make purchases that exceeded the available balance during a multi-state system failure."
"Our investigations and disqualification process have been thorough and methodical to ensure that the abusers are properly disqualified," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "This is a unique type of fraud compared to the cases we usually encounter."
DCFS added it has started the process to disqualify 25 more recipients. The outage happened on Oct. 12, 2013.
According to officials, no unauthorized taxpayer dollars were used in Louisiana during the outage. They added the stores are responsible for the cost of any purchases involving non-sufficient funds.
DCFS said its fraud recovery unit first targeted the 500 worst offenders. They are accused of trying to spend over $300,000 in unavailable funds. DCFS added the purchases ranged from $300 to $2,000.
Officials reported the six SNAP clients will be disqualified on March 1. They waived their right to a hearing, while the 25 others being processed want to go through with a hearing.
Under federal guidelines, the first violation of SNAP rules results in a 12-month disqualification.
The names of the transgressors were not released.