Louisiana corrections officer accused of defrauding food stamp program

Louisiana corrections officer accused of defrauding food stamp program

ST. GABRIEL, LA (WAFB) - Authorities have arrested a woman accused of stealing more than $13,000 in a scheme to defraud Louisiana's food stamp program, all while the woman served as a corrections officer with a state penitentiary in St. Gabriel.

Cynthia Jarrell, 44, of Baton Rouge faces a charge of felony theft. Jarrell served as a corrections officer with the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel during the time of the alleged crime.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Casey Hicks says deputies arrested Jarrell on a warrant issued by the fraud detection and recovery unit of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The warrant, obtained by WAFB 9News, alleges Jarrell fraudulently received $13,657 from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by falsely reporting that she was not employed and by "concealing her correct household members and income."

"Based on the household's true situation, Ms. Jarrell was ineligible for SNAP benefits that she received," the warrant reads.

DCFS says Jarrell stole the SNAP benefits over a 3-year period from July of 2013 to September of 2016, according to the warrant.

It further states Jarrell was living with her husband, Walter Jarrell, while both were employed with the Department of Corrections at the Elayn Hunt prison during the time the alleged fraud took place.

Her bond information was not yet available Tuesday afternoon.

DCFS Fraud Detection Director Jesse Wright says his department recovers up to $3 million per year from fraud cases in Louisiana.

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