DADE CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa man is facing charges following a fraudulent transaction complaint at the Pasco County Food for Florida event.
Pasco deputies who were working during the disaster food assistance program at the Pasco County Fairgrounds received the complaint from a member of the Department of Children and Families who was monitoring the processing of benefits.
According to fraud investigators, 37-year-old Omar Barker had attended the Food for Florida event on several different occasions to process assistance applications for others.
“They thought that he had been at four other events trying to get benefits with someone else’s information but at that time when they tried to make contact, he fled the scene,” said Kevin Doll of the Pasco County Sheriff’s office.
Deputies say he provided signed authorization and an ID card from a woman who had already received the benefits. When employees contacted the woman, she said she did not authorize Barker to get the benefits for her.
Once he was in custody, Baker admitted to deputies that a third party told him to use the woman’s ID.
“Law enforcement knows that as long as there’s something of value out there, there’s going to be people out there who unscrupulously try to get something for their own regardless if it’s legal or not,” said Doll.
Baker was charged with public assistance fraud and criminal use of personal identification information.
A team of investigators with the Department of Children and Families has been on the lookout for those trying to obtain fraudulent benefits.
From September 27 to October 26, the Public Benefits Integrity program prevented 9.9 million dollars worth of fraudulent benefits.
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