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Seven former state workers in Delaware were indicted after authorities uncovered a massive food stamp fraud scheme. 

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn announced the charges on Wednesday against seven women, including two who remain at-large:

Jo Ellen Edwards, 61, of Felton – charged with Theft over $100,000, Forgery First Degree, Falsifying Business Records, and Official Misconduct.

Shirlene Davis, 29, of Newark – charged with Theft over $100,000, Forgery First Degree, Falsifying Business Records, and Official Misconduct.

The defendants worked for the Department of Health and Social Services and were responsible for issuing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which are used for purchases by food stamp recipients.

The fraud ring was found to have issued more than $959,000 in fraudulent benefits. Denn explained how the scheme worked:

Based on internal audits conducted by DHSS’s Audit and Recovery Management Services, investigators learned of fictitious and unauthorized EBT accounts created by Division of Social Services case workers responsible for case creation and maintenance, with each of the fraudulently created cases issued varying amounts of food benefits in the form of EBT cards.

The investigation revealed that the fraudulent EBT cards were delivered to State Service Centers in New Castle and Kent County, and intercepted by the suspects working at those locations. Once intercepted, the cards were personally used or sold at a discount.

Two of the women were already convicted and sentenced in April. Allison Rivera, 49, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay more than $27,000 in restitution. 

Angelette Brown, 45, was sentenced to two years of probation, ordered to do 240 hours of community service, and forced to repay the $15,957 she stole.

Read more, here.

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