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Pike County woman turns self in to authorities for alleged SNAP fraud

Shantay Vega
Shantay Vega (Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Human Services)

A Pike County woman has turned herself in to authorities for defrauding a federal food assistance program.

Shantay Vega surrendered herself to law enforcement in late May following an investigation conducted by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS). Vega improperly received more than $26,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by not accurately reporting household income and composition.

Based on the evidence obtained during the investigation, the case was referred to the Pike County District Attorney’s office. The Pike County District Attorney secured an indictment on May 18 and Vega later turned herself in to MDHS and Pike County officials later in the month.

“This is a great example of collaboration between our investigations team, County offices, District Attorneys, and local law enforcement,” MDHS Inspector General Sandra Griffith said.

Agent Aaron Rushing of the MDHS Investigations Division assessed the case. The Investigations Division is a subset of the MDHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which was created in August 2018 and charged with detecting, deterring, and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse. OIG has been responsible for millions of dollars collected from overpayments.

“This investigation demonstrates the strengthened controls we have in place to identify, investigate, and eliminate fraud in our programs,” MDHS Executive Director Bob Anderson said.

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