Not impressed Sen. Vitter reacts to DCFS follow-up on SNAP fraud - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Not impressed: Sen. Vitter reacts to DCFS follow-up on SNAP fraud

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Sen. Vitter has been urging Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier to take aggressive action in response to the suspected fraud. Sen. Vitter has been urging Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier to take aggressive action in response to the suspected fraud.
Shopping frenzies were reported at Walmart stores in Many, Mansfield and Springhill, LA  during the EBT outage. Shopping frenzies were reported at Walmart stores in Many, Mansfield and Springhill, LA during the EBT outage.
Cell phone video shows the crowd that filled the Springhill, LA store in October 2013, filling up carts on seemingly limitless SNAP cards. (Source: Starla Laedawn Allen) Cell phone video shows the crowd that filled the Springhill, LA store in October 2013, filling up carts on seemingly limitless SNAP cards. (Source: Starla Laedawn Allen)
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KSLA) -

U.S. Sen. David Vitter is chiming in on the news that the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has disqualified 6 SNAP recipients who they say exceeded spending limits during a system outage in October 2013.

Vitter has been urging Louisiana's Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Secretary of Department of Children and Family Services Suzy Sonnier to take such action, but he wasn't impressed with the number of people the DCFS has so far taken action against.

"The first question I'll ask is why are there only six people getting punished when they say there are over 12,000 people who overspent," Vitter said. "Like many citizens, I am appalled by the outrageous theft and fraud and believe there should be serious consequences for what occurred."

During the outage, some EBT cardholders reportedly loaded up on groceries and charged them to the temporarily unlimited cards. Police have confirmed that there were also reports of some people simply walking out of the stores with cartloads of groceries without paying for them when the outage ended, while many others left the overflowing carts sitting in the aisles.

It was after those incidents were reported that Vitter sent recommendations to Attorney General Caldwell and Secretary Sonnier for aggressive action in response to the suspected fraud.

DCFS announced the 6 SNAP disqualifications earlier in the day on Monday, and said they are working on revoking the benefits of 25 more beneficiaries.

According to that announcement, the department's Fraud and Recovery Unit has been pursuing the "500 most egregious transgressors, who attempted to spend $315,386 that they did not have available in benefits. Those transactions ranged from $300 - $2,000." The agency says they sent target letters and questionnaires to those 500. As of February 20, DCFS says they have received 113 responses and scheduled 109 interviews.

Click here to read Vitter's recommendation as well as his request for a meeting with Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier.

The meeting has been scheduled for Friday, February 28 in Baton Rouge.

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