A Florida woman has been charged with third-degree welfare fraud after authorities say she swindled taxpayers out of thousands of bucks in food stamp benefits while she was earning a six-figure salary.
Court documents show Cindy Laraine Clark, 54, of Oxford contacted the Department of Children and Family Services (DFACS) on several occasions between July 2015 and July 2016 to say she was unemployed. In reality, Clark was working for a home health care company where she was paid $133,191 from September 2015 to December 2016, local station News4Jax reported.
An investigation concluded Clark was ineligible to receive the $7,015 in food stamp benefits she collected in 2016. She later admitted to lying about being unemployed and not earning an income on public assistance applications.
Clark was arrested March 10 and booked into the Sumter County Jail. She was released after posting $2,000 bond.
State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis didn’t hold back in his statement regarding the case.
“Public assistance fraud steals from Floridians who need it most and anyone who tries to game the system will be arrested and held accountable,” Patronis said. “… This criminal knowingly took money that could have otherwise gone to a Florida family in need. It’s disgusting and unacceptable.”
According to News4Jax, Clark’s case comes on the heels of a Jacksonville police investigation into widespread food stamp fraud. The crackdown revealed that nearly 200 people were involved in a scheme to exchange SNAP benefits for cash.