The Mississippi Department of Human Services Benefit Recovery Unit has recovered full restitution of $1,142.04 from a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud case in Lowndes County.
Former Clerical Support employee Deidra Norris was convicted of stealing and activating SNAP EBT cards from individuals who were in a drug rehab facility. Norris also confessed to buying and selling multiple other EBT cards. Once the information was discovered, the MDHS Investigation Division moved quickly to gather the necessary evidence, which it then turned over to the Lowndes County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The employee was immediately terminated from the agency.
A Lowndes County Grand Jury indicted Norris on four counts of food stamp fraud. She turned herself in to MDHS investigators and local law enforcement in August.
The Benefit Recovery Unit, under the direction of Debresha McDonald, is part of the Office of Inspector General in MDHS. Created in August 2018 and charged with detecting, preventing, and deterring fraud, waste, and abuse within the agency, OIG has been responsible for millions in dollars collected from misused eligibility funds.
“This is the culmination of hard work by divisions within our Office of Inspector General to not only identify and eliminate fraud, but to recover the misused funds so they can go to the people who need and qualify for them,” MDHS Executive Director Robert G. “Bob” Anderson said.
Suspected fraud can be reported to MDHS online any time by submitting the MDHS Fraud Tip Form at https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/report-fraud/, calling the Fraud Tip Line during normal business hours at 1-(800)-299-6905, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.