Lewiston Woman Wanted for Food Stamp Fraud | Crime
A $15,000 bench warrant was recently issued in Lewiston's Second District Court for a 45-year-old Lewiston woman who failed to appear for sentencing on four felony counts of fraudulent use of Food Stamps.
According to Tom Shanahan with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the agency began investigating Tina Painter in February of 2012 after learning that she had been using a Food Stamp card that belonged to someone else who was incarcerated in the Nez Perce County Jail.
"Being incarcerated and receiving food stamps is prohibited and Food Stamp recipients are required to notify the program if they are incarcerated," Shanahan says.
While investigating the inmate, the state discovered that the inmate’s Food Stamp card had been accessed multiple times during his incarceration. From September 2011 to February 2012, his food stamp card had been used 11 times for a total of $799, all the time while being incarcerated.
"During this investigation, the Department was able to obtain information that implicated Tina Painter as the one who had obtained the inmate’s Food Stamp card and was using it at various grocery stores for personal use," according to Shanahan.
Painter was subsequently contacted and interviewed at the Asotin County Jail in Clarkston after being arrested on unrelated charges.
"Tina admitted to taking the inmate’s Food Stamp card and using it while he was incarcerated. The Department also learned that Tina, who was also receiving Idaho Food Stamps, had given her Food Stamp card away to be used while she was incarcerated on unrelated charges. The investigation determined that only one unauthorized transaction for $97 was done using Tina’s card while she was in jail," Shanahan added.
Painter pleaded guilty to the four counts of fraudulent use of a Food Stamp card and the department is asking that she pay restitution of $896 for those monies that were fraudulently spent. Painter was due to be sentenced on June 18th, but failed to appear for her sentencing.