Kansas City Woman Sentenced for SNAP Benefits Fraud
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for using six stolen identities to fraudulently file 71 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in four states.
Bridgette Ford, 62, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to four years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Ford to pay $66,684 in restitution.
On July 28, 2022, Ford pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, one count of theft of government money, one count of misuse of a Social Security number, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Ford received SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) from May 2018 through January 2020. During that time, she submitted six fraudulent applications for Missouri SNAP benefits using the names, Social Security numbers, and other identity information stolen from six victims. She listed her own email address and phone number on each fraudulent application, and she claimed the applicants were homeless. She directed all communication from the Department of Social Services regarding the fraudulent applications to be sent to her home address. When state officials required applicant interviews, she either assumed the identity she had stolen and conducted the interview herself, or she instructed one of her acquaintances to do it.
The Department of Social Services approved all six fraudulent applications for SNAP benefits. When Ford received the fraudulent EBT cards for the six accounts, she sold them for cash (or gave them to others to sell for cash) to buyers who then used the benefits on the cards. After they used the EBT cards to make purchases, they returned the cards to Ford.
Ford filed 71 SNAP benefit applications in four different states. She fraudulently received at least $21,546 in SNAP benefits between July 2018 through November 2020 under her own name in Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois. In addition, Ford fraudulently filed multiple applications for SNAP benefits under the names of others in those states and subsequently received $45,138 in additional benefits based on those applications.
Ford also concealed a disqualifying prior felony drug conviction in her own Missouri SNAP application and received SNAP benefits to which she was not entitled. Ford’s conduct resulted in a total SNAP benefits loss of $66,684.
This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney R. Pratten. It was investigated by the Missouri Department of Social Services and the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General.