BATON ROUGE -- A report by the state Legislative Auditor found some fraud and other problems with accountability within the federal food assistance program, known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Among the findings more than $100,000 in SNAP benefits were inadvertently given to 84 convicted drug felons from 2011 to 2012. Convicted drug felons are only eligible to receive the benefits after one year from their release date from jail.
Despite being responsible for only 605 recipients of SNAP, 'a January 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General report identified 1,573 recipients who were receiving duplicate benefits in Louisiana and other states from March 2010 to March 2011 for three consecutive months,' the summary audit said.
Additionally, the audit shows the Department of Children and Family Services identified 1,157 cases with $841,615 in overpaid benefits from 2010 to 2011.
More than 3,000 SNAP beneficiaries spent all of their money, totaling more than $2 million, during 2012 in states other than Louisiana. The audit 'found that 3,060 participants who were certified in Louisiana spent all of their benefits in another state during fiscal year 2012 which may indicate that these individuals do not live in Louisiana and are potentially receiving benefits in another state.'
The audit found that SNAP benefits totaling over $1, million were paid to incarcerated participants who were not eligible.
'These persons were not a part of a household and therefore should not have used benefits during this timeframe,' the audit reads. 'According to FNS, this constitutes an intentional program violation and these individuals should repay the benefits used while incarcerated.'
The audit found 322 recipients who received over $750,000 in SNAP despite earning over $50,000 in 2012.