State misses deadline on SNAP fraud report

LAS CRUCES - After being under court order to hand in an investigation of allegedly fraudulent food aid practices last week, the investigator of a state agency testified in federal court Wednesday he was “not there yet” in completing his report.

The investigator, Adrian Gallegos, also acknowledged to Center on Law and Poverty attorney Sovereign Hager that potential wrongdoing “may be more egregious” than anyone perceived.

The state Human Services Department submitted the internal report to court last week, however, Gallegos, the department's inspector general, told the federal court that he still hadn’t interviewed at least 10 upper-level staffers. Employees at HSD testified in court and told Gallegos that these 10 staffers played a key role in the sanctioning of regularly adding fake assets to applications for emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

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