An investigation by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has led to criminal charges filed in Pottawatomie County against Shawnee resident Jennifer Bentley. On Jan. 9, 2019, Bentley entered a guilty plea to one count of obtaining SNAP benefits (food stamps) by fraud and one count of false claims against the state. The court sentenced Bentley to a seven year deferred sentence and ordered her to repay $18,597 in restitution to DHS.

Bentley failed to report to DHS the number of people in her household and her household income when she applied for SNAP and was issued benefits she was not eligible to receive. Individuals who apply for SNAP food benefits are required to report the number of individuals in their household and total household income.

“Investigating SNAP fraud is one of our priorities,” DHS Inspector General Tony Bryan said. “Most SNAP recipients in Oklahoma abide by the rules. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who seek to defraud the system that is designed to assist low income families. ”

Obtaining SNAP benefits by fraud is a felony punishable by no more than two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Filing false claims against the State is a felony punishable by no more than two years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. To report allegations of public assistance fraud, call the DHS fraud hotline at 800-784-5887 or send an e-mail to OIGFraud2@okdhs.org.