Senath woman pleads guilty to $52,000 in food-stamp fraud

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Senath, Missouri, woman pleaded guilty to a fraud charge involving her misuse of $52,267 in food-stamp benefits.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Missouri, Pamela O’Dell pleaded guilty to one felony count of mail fraud before U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. in Cape Girardeau.

According to court documents, O’Dell was employed as an eligibility specialist by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division in Dunklin County. In the position, O’Dell was responsible for processing applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly known as food stamps. She also was responsible for updating SNAP recipient’s files with address changes and whether their eligibility for the program was terminated.

Authorities said between 2009 and 2014, when SNAP applicants and recipients reported to the Family Support Division they no longer wished to apply for or receive benefits, O’Dell changed their address to the division office in Dunklin County, which issued a new Electronic Benefits Transfer card using her information. She converted the EBT cards to her personal use.

Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. Sentencing for O’Dell is set for June 20.

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