FORT WAYNE – After thousands of dollars were accidentally issued to a Fort Wayne womans food-stamp account last summer, she conspired with others to spend the money at grocery stores, prompting prosecutors to file felony charges, according to court papers.
During a power outage July 12, the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration erroneously placed $3,503 in food stamps on an electronic benefit card that belonged to Dana Freeman, 22. The agency had meant to put $350 on her card, court papers stated.
The agency called Freeman the same day, asking that she come to the local office and complete paperwork so the extra $3,153 could be removed from her account, but she did not do so. Instead, Freeman, with help from an unidentified middleman, let five women and five other unidentified people use the card at grocery stores where they spent $2,256.73, court papers stated.
Some of the women gave cash to Freeman or the middleman for the chance to use the card. For example, one woman paid $150 to spend $300 in food stamps, court papers said.
Freeman, of the 400 block of Fairwick Lane, was charged Friday with felony theft and felony corrupt business influence.
Four other women have been charged with felony theft and misdemeanor welfare fraud. They are Dorothy Glass, 50, of the 1200 block of Dawnan Drive; Sandrona Johnson, 41, of the 1200 block of Michigan Avenue; Threather Jones, 62, of the 7100 block of Thamesford Drive; and Betty Anderson, 61, of the 3900 block of Robinwood Drive. The sixth woman identified in court papers has not yet been charged.