A Florida woman is accused of putting false information down on her public assistance applications to collect $26,000 in Medicaid and food stamps.
Authorities arrested Lori Lee, 29, of Tallahassee, on a warrant Wednesday after investigators say she submitted the false applications to Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) over several years, WCTV reported.
Authorities say Lee fraudulently received more than $8,400 in food stamps and more than $17,880 in Medicaid benefits after she claimed on her welfare applications that she lived with her son.
Investigators later found that the son did not live with Lee at the time she applied for the benefits.
Police later put out a warrant for Lee’s arrest in December, charging her with grand theft over $20,000.
Lee was nowhere to be found for the next few months until the Leon County Sheriff’s Office got a tip on March 13 that she was hiding out at a nearby residence.
Deputies later arrived at the residence to find Lee in a bedroom closet carrying a backpack containing cash, pills, heroin, and marijuana before taking her into custody, according to arrest documents.
Authorities then charged Lee with grand theft, multiple drug possession charges, and violating her parole before booking her into the Leon County Detention Facility.
Welfare fraud is quite common in America. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from 2019 found that criminals were responsible for trafficking at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits. But some experts say there is more welfare fraud in this country than what the reports state.
Kristina Rasmussen, the vice president of federal affairs for the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), told Breitbart News in February that the amount of fraud in the U.S. “could be a lot higher” than the GAO estimates.
“Food stamp criminals can be a creative bunch and they are always coming up with new schemes once the authorities catch on to one, but generally speaking, there are two big buckets of fraud: Its people who are getting access to the program who shouldn’t be getting access … or folks who are accessing the program who really aren’t eligible,” Rasmussen said.