PATERSON, N.J. – A Passaic County welfare worker tapped the food stamp cards of five recipients to buy more than $500 worth of good for herself, said authorities who arrested her on Friday.
Carol Austin, 61, of Paterson, was working as a clerk for the Passaic County Board of Social Services when she “used food stamp benefits contained on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that did not belong to her and that she did not have authorization to use,” beginning in November 2015 before she was caught, county Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said.
“EBT cards are issued by the Passaic County Board of Social Services to low-income individuals for the purpose of assisting them in purchasing food,” Valdes noted. “The program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Federal Food Stamp program. Only authorized recipients are permitted to use the cards.”
Participating in the case is North East Regional Office of the Inspector General for the federal agriculture department, the prosecutor said.
Austin was released on a court summons charging her with impersonation theft, theft by deception and unauthorized use of food stamps.
An investigation was continuing, said Valdes, who asked that anyone with additional information forward it through her office’s tips line at either 1-877-370-PCPO or firstname.lastname@example.org .