Your tax dollars at work.
Tennessee state officials announced Thursday that they arrested state Department of Human Services Eligibility Counselor Alfred Awonuga for allegedly handing out food stamps in exchange for sexual favors.
In his role, Awonuga was responsible for deciding if a person was eligible for food stamps. An investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) found he used his authority to coercive individuals into having sex with him. This included some women not otherwise eligible to receive benefits.
“Awonuga used his position to attempt to get a participant in the state’s food assistance program to have sex with him in exchange for benefits,” a press release from TBI detailed. “Agents further learned Awonuga manipulated the program in a separate incident by obtaining benefits for an applicant who would otherwise not be eligible in an attempt to get the participant to have sex with him.”
The woman in question, who was not indicated by name, refused the offer. This prompted Awonuga to terminate the benefits he had already obtained for her.
“When she declined, the investigation revealed Awonuga facilitated the termination of her benefits and later communicated with her that he could assist her in getting her benefits reinstated,” the press release continued. “While continuing to express a desire in a sexual relationship. The agency subsequently terminated his employment.”
The food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is run by both federal and state agencies. It is overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program is designed to provide food to low-come individuals and families. Agents found the alleged abuse of power occurred between March 2014 to March 2015.
Davidson County Grand Jury authorized the indictments for Awonuga on Aug. 28 with six counts of Official Misconduct and one count of Attempted Official Misconduct. Awonuga is now being held at Davidson County Jail on a $20,000 bond.
This report, by Connor D. Wolf, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.