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Former North Carolina social worker sentenced to prison for diverting benefits

A former social worker in North Carolina has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to redirecting federal benefits from ineligible applicants to herself, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina says in a news release that Lakisha Victoria McDougald, 32, of Fayetteville also was ordered to pay almost $234,000 in restitution after pleading guilty in May.

McDougald was sentenced on Friday, August 13, 2021 in Raleigh.

According to court documents and information presented in court, McDougald, who was a former social worker in Harnett County, used state computer networks between 2014 and 2019 to unlawfully access the accounts of people no longer eligible for benefits from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The news release says McDougald also had food stamp EBT cards registered to the beneficiaries to be sent to her home address. Additionally, McDougald added false dependents to increase the monthly benefit allotment, sold the cards to others and used the cards herself to purchase merchandise, according to the news release.

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