OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is investigating possible food-stamp fraud at two unregulated addiction recovery centers.

The department's investigation focuses on Fort Gibson's Faith Based Therapeutic Community Corporation and the Ada-based Southern Oklahoma Addiction Recovery program, The Oklahoman reported. The probe began after program graduates and other participants alleged they were forced to sign up for food stamps but didn't receive the benefits.

Participants of the FBTCC said they were fed expired food donations and restaurant leftovers. SOAR participants said their food stamp cards were confiscated.

Officials from the centers either did not respond to the newspaper's request for an interview about the investigation or declined comment.

Food stamp fraud can be prosecuted as a felony in Oklahoma. Punishments can include up to a $5,000 fine and two years in prison.

Those who go through recovery programs at the centers are often required to do by the court system. The centers, which require program participants to perform manual labor without pay, are not licensed as drug treatment programs by the state.

Oklahoma has 21 drug treatment or recovery programs that are currently approved to receive and use food stamps benefits, or have been in the past, the Department of Human Services said. Programs can use food stamps for residents in their care through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

Seven of the programs approved to receive the benefits in Oklahoma are unlicensed, faith-based facilities, including FBTCC, according to data from the Department of Human Services.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com