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Former South Dakota Official to Fork over $750,000 for Fudging SNAP Data

Former South Dakota Official to Fork over $750,000 for Fudging SNAP Data
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The former leader of South Dakota’s food stamp program has been ordered to fork over $750,000 to the government for allegedly faking Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) data so she could benefit financially.

Julie Osnes, who used to run South Dakota’s food stamp program and now runs a South Dakota consulting firm, allegedly helped states falsify food stamp quality control data to obtain performance bonuses for her clients and for herself, KELO reported.

Now the federal government is cracking down on Osnes, ordering that her consulting firm pay $751,571 in fines to the government for manipulating data so it would show lower error rates for some states’ SNAP programs between 2008 and 2013.

When Osnes was in charge of South Dakota’s food stamp program, she had a more than 95 percent accuracy rate that earned the state millions over 16 years.

She also consulted with dozens of other states— including Alaska, Wisconsin, and Virginia— between 2008 and 2013. Those three states have reached settlements with the federal government and had to pay back the money.

The federal government seized $17 million from those states, according to a press release from the Justice Department.

This was also the same time as former President Barack Obama’s first term in office, when food stamp enrollment spiked to the highest in the nation’s history.

Enrollment in benefits increased by 70 percent from the year former President Barack Obama took office in 2008 to 2013.

Some of those states Osnes consulted for blamed her for their food stamp errors. An Associated Press report from September 2017 found that Alaska blamed Osnes when it had to pay $2.5 million to the government for fudging its data.

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