Four Connecticut residents have been arrested and charged with stealing money from public programs financed by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). The majority of the allegedly stolen funds were fraudulently obtained through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
In total, Livia Brown, of East Hartford; Jetaun Green, of Bridgeport; Lexxiani Lopez, of Hartford; and Carmelo Davila, of New Haven, are charged with stealing a combined $19,111. The alleged thefts are four separate incidents and are not related.
Brown is charged with fraudulently obtaining $7,434 in SNAP benefits. Green is charged with fraudulently obtaining $6,021 in SNAP benefits. Lopez is charged with fraudulently obtaining $2,680 in SNAP benefits.
Davis is charged with fraudulently obtaining $1,345 in SNAP benefits and $1,631 in state-administered general assistance (SAGA) cash funds.
Each is being charged with larceny in the first degree. Davila, Green, and Lopez are also each facing one count of false statements in the second degree.
To be eligible to receive SNAP benefits, administered by DSS, in Connecticut, households are subject to monthly income limits, which are based on the federal poverty level. Gross income limits apply to most households, except where at least one person is aged 60 or older, or if a household member receives disability income. Net income limits apply to all households. Households with gross incomes more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are also subject to a gross asset limit to qualify for SNAP benefits, which cannot exceed $4,250.
SNAP benefit recipients must also report changes to their monthly income if it exceeds 130 percent of the federal poverty level.
The SAGA program, also administered by DSS, provides cash assistance typically to adults who are either permanently or temporarily unable to work for medical reasons and whose income and assets fall below the program’s limits. SAGA recipients often are waiting to receive either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Individuals who are able to receive SAGA benefits, in the form of monthly cash allowances, cannot be eligible for any other state or federal cash assistance program. To be eligible for the program, individuals’ gross monthly income cannot exceed 300 percent of the maximum SSI benefits for one person. The amount of income a person makes monthly must also be less than the maximum benefit they are able to receive through SAGA. An individual also cannot have more than $250 in assets.
Brown, Green Lopez, and Davila were each arrested on separate warrants by inspectors in the Statewide Prosecution Bureau within the Chief State’s Attorney’s office.
The bureau is responsible for investigating and prosecuting “white collar” crimes, including violations of the state’s environmental protection laws, incidences of government corruption, and other matters touching on public integrity.
Brown, Green, and Davila were all released on a promise to appear in court. Lopez was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond.