A Passaic County social services clerk who used nearly $10,000 worth of food stamps turned in by poor clients for herself was sentenced Friday to five years probation and ordered to reimburse the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Carol Austin, 62, of Paterson already agreed to forfeit her job and be permanently banned from holding any public office or “position of honor, trust or profit” in the state as part of a plea deal, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said.
She also must repay the $9,995.84 she stole to the government.
Austin “was working for the Passaic County Board of Social Services and had access to food stamp cards that were turned in by clients or their family members,” Valdes said.
Detectives from Valdes’s office, working with the North East Regional Office of the Inspector General for the Agriculture Department, arrested Austin last year and charged her with theft and unauthorized use of food stamp coupons.
Austin pleaded guilty to both counts in March, admitting she used the benefits between November 2015 and May 2017, Valdes said.
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