A former Washington, DC, government employee was convicted Wednesday of running a $400,000 welfare fraud scheme where he pocketed funds meant for D.C. residents.
Gary T. Holliday, 49, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in his appearance before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and could face up to 41 months behind bars at his June sentencing for the federal wire charge, the Washington Post reported.
D.C. Department of Human Services spokeswoman Dora Taylor-Lowe told the Post the agency “discovered irregularities” with welfare payments and filed a report with the D.C. inspector general’s office.
“The unconscionable actions of this (former) public servant violated the trust of the residents we serve,” Taylor-Lowe said. “Stealing from programs built to assist our community’s most vulnerable children and their families deserve swift and aggressive justice.”
Prosecutors say Holliday worked as a policy analyst at D.C.’s Department of Human Services, working out of the department in the agency which reviewed welfare program applications for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Both programs are used to benefit low-income families.
Authorities say Holliday created a fraudulent application for SNAP and TANF benefits in another person’s name, taking more than $400,000 in benefits and placing them on a card so he could access the funds.
Welfare fraud in the U.S. is quite commonplace. A January 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that at least $1 billion in SNAP benefits are trafficked each year.
Kristina Rasmussen, vice president of federal affairs for the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), told Breitbart News in a Sunday interview that state and federal governments need to do more to crack down on food stamp fraudsters “willing to abuse the system” because of how frequently instances of food stamp fraud take place.