A Passaic County Board of Social Services clerk has been arrested and charged with unauthorized use of food stamp cards, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Carol Austin, 61, of Paterson was arrested on Friday and charged with second-degree impersonation and theft of identity, third-degree theft by deception, and fourth-degree unauthorized use of food stamp coupons, authorities said.
Austin allegedly used food stamp benefits in Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards from five recipients. The cards did not belong to her, authorities said. She allegedly used more than $500 for herself from November 2015 to February 2017, authorities said.
Authorities did not say how exactly Austin gained access to the cards. She was employed as a clerk for the Passaic County Board of Social Services at the time, authorities said.
Food stamp cards are issued to low-income individuals to help them cover food purchases. Austin faces a maximum of 16 years in prison and penalties, authorities said.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office and the northeast regional office of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Agriculture arrested Austin, authorities said. The department of agriculture funds the food stamp program.
Austin earned $69,916 in salary in her position as clerk, according to government records.