Woman Accused Of Defrauding Oklahoma Food Stamp Program

Wednesday, October 1st 2014, 11:35 pm
By: News 9

A woman is busted and charged for defrauding the Oklahoma food stamp program.

Turns out, she lives in Texas, and investigators said she's been getting benefits in both states for a year-and-a-half.

Erica Eason, 40, was interviewed and admitted to investigators that she lived in Texas and not Oklahoma while she continued to receive food stamp benefits from the state.

She raked up more than $12,000 between October 2012 and April of this year.

“Never met her; never seen her. No. Sorry,” Sholonda Barnes said.

We showed Barnes court documents, which shows her mother's address listed as a place of residence for Eason.

After nearly two years, DHS determined Eason was overpaid $12,232, and Sholonda's mother's address at a retirement community in Midwest City isn't the only address Eason is accused of putting on applications. A home in Spencer is also listed as her home.

“That puts us in a bind, because you got people here that actually need it, and they get denied every time you turn around,” Barnes said.

DHS got an anonymous phone call last December that Eason was living in Dallas but still receiving DHS benefits in Oklahoma City.

“We do a lot of undercover work and electronic monitoring, so when we find this, we pursue them to the full extent of the law,” DHS spokesperson, Mark Beutler said.

Court documents reveal a review of Eason's food stamp card usage shows she used it 370 times, and 328 of those are in Dallas.

Beutler said the crime carries a stiff penalty of anywhere from five to 10 years in prison.

“We take it very seriously," said Beutler. "We have a very aggressive fraud prevention unit.”

In case you're wondering how investigators were able to put all this together, they used Eason's Facebook page to unravel the alleged scheme.