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DCFS Investigation Leads to Assistance Fraud Arrest

Tangipahoa woman accused of receiving nearly $22,000 in ineligible benefits

TANGIPAHOA PARISH -- A Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation resulted in the arrest of a Tangipahoa Parish woman accused of defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) and the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) of nearly $22,000.

Christine Johnston, 32, was arrested earlier this month at her home in Ponchatoula. She is charged with Felony Theft of Government Assistance.

An investigation by the DCFS Fraud and Recovery Unit revealed that Johnston failed to report her income and additionally failed to report that her husband both lived in the home and earned an income.

"DCFS is committed to investigating and prosecuting to the fullest Louisianians who feel they can game the system and potentially deprive critical assistance from those who truly need it," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson.

Johnston received $17,250 in ineligible SNAP benefits over the course of 30 months between June 2006 and August 2010. She additionally received $4,648 in ineligible CCAP benefits over 17 months between August 2008 and February 2010.

At the completion of DCFS' investigation, charges were filed in April 2011 and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office made the arrest.

Through May of this fiscal year, DCFS, with the cooperation of local, state and federal officials, has recovered more than $2.6 million from individuals who have committed fraud and abuse in assistance programs. All monies are federal that are passed through the state for distribution.

To report suspected illegal receipt of public assistance benefits or illegal use of an EBT card, call the toll-free Public Assistance Fraud Hotline at 1-800-256-3150. To learn more, visit

SNAP is administered in Louisiana by DCFS and overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Read more about recipients' rights.

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