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Dearborn resident sentenced in large-scale operation involving identity theft, food stamp fraud

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2016

Dearborn Resident Sentenced in Large-Scale Operation Involving Identity Theft, Food Stamp Fraud

LANSING, MICH. – A Dearborn woman has been sentenced to almost six years in prison for theft of public money and identity theft following an investigation into trafficking of food assistance benefits.

Pamela Tribby, 53, of Dearborn, was sentenced to 70 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Corbett O’Meara, said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, Inspector General Alan Kimichik of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and  Anthony Mohatt, special agent-in-charge of the Midwest Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.

Tribby also will serve three years of probation and pay $518,358 restitution for her role in a large-scale identity theft and food stamp fraud operation in Dearborn from September 2013 through September 2015. According to information provided to the court, Tribby violated regulations governing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funded by the USDA by applying for food assistance using more than 300 illegally acquired identities from an out-of-state stolen identity list. Tribby subsequently sold the acquired benefits, worth more than $518,000, to individuals who did not qualify for food assistance.

MDHHS has a variety of practices in place to combat the use of identity fraud by people improperly applying for public assistance. For example, the department uses a national database to spot people who applied for benefits in more than one state. The department is piloting a project that uses a data broker to assist in validating and authenticating identities of applicants. MDHHS’s Office of Inspector General regularly analyzes public assistance data for suspect identities on applications and investigates for possible fraud.

"The MDHHS Office of Inspector General is committed to aggressively investigating the criminal activities of individuals who deprive needy residents of Michigan access to nutritious meals.” Kimichik said. “We appreciate the assistance from our partners from the USDA-OIG, Michigan State Police and the Dearborn Police Department in assisting to bring this person to justice.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abed Hammoud. 

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