PATERSON, N.J. – A Passaic County social services clerk admitted using used food stamps turned in by poor clients for herself.
Carol Austin, 62, of Paterson 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 Friday.
In exchange, she’ll be ordered to serve up to 364 days in the Passaic County Jail and pay restitution of more than $500 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the prosecutor said.
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,” she 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 on Thursday, admitting she used the benefits between November 2015 and May 2017, Valdes said.
Sentencing was scheduled for June 22.
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