NOPD searching for woman behind bold food stamp scam

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 16 at 10:41 PM

Mike Perlstein / Eyewitness News
Email: mperlstein@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mperlstein

NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans East business fell for a bold scam last week, and as police investigate, Eyewitness News obtained exclusive video that may help identify the con artist.

The woman introduced herself as an official with the state food stamp office.

"She had a clipboard. It had a list of other business and signatures and an identification tag as well,” said Desirie Tran, manager at the gas station convenience store next door.

By the time a cashier at a New Orleans East bakery became suspicious, it was too late. After being given access to the store's Electronic Benefits Card reader, the woman, seen on video, transferred $200 cash value to a card belonging to someone else.

"Basically, she just came in and said she was with the food stamps and wanted to upgrade the machine. Everything seemed legitimate. She was on the phone with what sounded like a supervisor."

The woman bolted when the cashier asked to see further identification, but she didn't go far. Tran said the woman then came into her business and began the same routine.

When Tran approached the woman, she left abruptly. That's when the bakery shop manager ran over to warn the gas station.

"As soon as she walked out, two minutes, he came running over. Right after that," Tran said.

The state food stamp office verified the scam. According to electronic transaction records, the woman first tried to add $600 to the card, but when that didn't work, she kept punching in purchases until the card finally accepted the $200 credit.

Now these businesses want to make sure nobody else is victimized.

"Some people may have thought it was legitimate and never even realized it yet,” Tran said. “Hopefully this will get it out there."

Investigators with the New Orleans Police Department are trying to solve the case.

Anyone who recognizes the woman on the security camera or believes they have been victims of this scam can call 7th District detectives as 658-6070 or Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

 

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