Brooklyn Prosecutors Indict Man in Food-Stamp Swindle
JAY STREET — Today, Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced the indictment of Kenley Stanislas, 46, who is charged with fraudulently gaining $6,000 in food-stamp assistance from the accounts of at least 26 food-stamp recipients by illegally obtaining their personal identification.
“This case demonstrates why you should never give out any personal identifying information to strangers on the phone: the caller is likely to be a thief who wants to use that information for his or her own benefit,” said District Attorney Hynes.
The indictment alleges that between Nov. 4, 2011, and Jan. 30, 2012, Stanislas called 26 food-stamp recipients, claiming to be a social services agency employee. He is charged with threatening that if they did not tell him their food-stamp account and social security numbers, he would immediately terminate their food-stamp benefits. He then accessed the accounts, according to the charges.
According to the indictment, when the victims attempted to make purchases with their food-stamp card, they were told the account had been frozen or that the money was gone. The victims, including an 89-year-old man, lost hundreds of dollars each.
“Our agencies’ combined efforts will finally bring to an end Stanislas’ career of stealing food stamp benefits from those in need,” said New York State Welfare Inspector General Sean Courtney. “We will continue to work together to make sure that public benefits reach families and individuals for whom they are intended.”
Charges against Stanislas include criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree, grand larceny in the third degree, identity theft in the first degree, scheme to defraud in the first degree, and welfare fraud in the third degree. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
“Those who intentionally steal from government programs meant for those in need should be forewarned that this will not be tolerated and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar. “This defendant repeatedly took advantage of his fellow New Yorkers by posing as an investigator and threatening them with loss of benefits, to steal food out of the mouths of children and vulnerable adults.”
If someone suspects that their benefits have been stolen, contact the Human Resources Administration’s Bureau of Fraud Investigation at (212) 274-5030.