Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal isn’t going to forget about the people who willingly stole EBT benefits during the recent technical malfunction at Xerox Corp. The malfunction took down the electronic benefit transfer system last month for several hours in 17 states, including Louisiana.

Those people who walked away with “free” groceries that exceeded their EBT balances face losing their benefits for a year, two years or permanently depending on how many prior infractions they have. More than 12,000 transactions generated insufficient funds notices once the  EBT system came back online Oct. 12 and retailers could process stored transactions.  Louisiana hasn’t released figures on how many people in the state actually made use of the malfunction.

From The Advocate:

Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the state Department of Children and Family Services, said the Jindal administration will start with the most egregious cases first.

“We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law. We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system,” Sonnier said in a prepared statement.

Sonnier’s announcement came just days after U.S. Sen. David Vitter urged the Jindal administration to take action in a national news story that unfolded with the help of smartphone technology. Shoppers snapped images of empty store shelves and bulging grocery carts at Wal-Marts in Springhill and Mansfield.

However, abuse of the system apparently occurred across Louisiana.

“The recent over-the-top food stamp theft and fraud gave Louisiana and the program a real black eye. I’m certainly glad the state is acting on my urgent suggestion. I look forward to discussing the details with Secretary Sonnier in my upcoming meeting with her and Attorney General (Buddy) Caldwell,” Vitter said in a prepared statement.

Violators can expect to get a letter about disqualification along with an offer to appeal through an administrative hearing.





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  • I’m on the fence about this “you get this and no more” atmosphere that has presented itself in many of these comments. I don’t agree with theft, but has it been considered that maybe we should look at the program itself and if people are really getting enough money to live a healthy lifestyle?

    • Mari

      they’re healthy enough to steal carts full of overly processed snack food

  • donnadara

    This is smoke and mirrors. The vast majority of the benefits go to children who can’t be cut off. And if this were credit or debit cards instead of EBT, don’t you think that many non-poor people would do the same thing? Big people steal big, little people steal little. Who does the most damage to society?

  • Cocoel

    Stop making excuses. These people stole several shopping carts FULL of food. What does Katrina and very other conservative issue have to do with the people who were in line knowing they have a limit on the card? So, it’s Wal-Mart’s fault that people were stealing? That’s like saying, they accidently put extra money in Bank of America and you know you don’t make 10,000 a month so you spend every dollar. You best believe BOA will be suing you and you will be charged with theft. Actually, it would be a federal charge. They need to withhold every dollar and kick them off until it is paid from what they would get per month. ALL people are not using Food stamps like they should, so stop playing. Many people sell them for cash and keep 1/2 if that. People who need them would not risk getting kicked off.