A local caterer has been indicted on felony charges for fraudulently collecting state food assistance.
The woman, Joy Elaine Tubb entered not guilty pleas to the 12-count indictment charges six counts of fraudulent receipt of food assistance and six counts of fraudulent receipt of temporary assistance. She is free awaiting her Feb. 22 plea or trial date. She has entered a not guilty plea to the dozen charges through her attorney.
The sealed indictments were rendered after the grand jury heard evidence submitted by an agent of the Department of Human Services. The DHS is the department that oversees emergency assistance and food stamp programs in the state of Tennessee.
In the indictments, DHS Agent James Barry maintains that Tubb intentionally deceived the state in qualifying for government assistance.
“She did knowingly obtain by means of willfully false statement, representation or fraudulent means, temporary assistance for a dependent child either by check or electronic benefits,” the indictment reads.
The indictment goes on to say that the amount was in excess of $100 and that the child was either not entitled to receiving benefits or that the benefits were greater than what should have been given through the state.
In the indictments for fraudulent food assistance benefits, the same allegations are made, this time saying she made the false representations to get food assistance in upwards of $100. The charges range from 2010 to 2013.
The exact amount of benefits Tubb allegedly received and specifics concerning the case are being withheld by DHS.
Devin Stone of the Communication Office for DHS claimed their office could not provide any specifics regarding the case. Their refusal came two weeks after the first request was made by the Southern Standard for more information about Tubb’s indictment, explaining the delay in the paper’s releasing the indictment to the public. The Standard had asked for specifics on what merited the charges, whether or not Tubb was eligible for part or none of the assistance she received and what prompted the investigation in the first place.
“Pertaining to your questions, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) enlisted the district attorney general for the 31st Judicial District (McMinnville) to carry out legal proceedings following our investigation,” Stone said in the e-mail refusing to give more details on the case. “Due to this being an active case, DHS is not at liberty to comment at this time.”
The request for information by the paper from DHS came after District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis referred the newspaper to the investigating agency (DHS) for information.
In light of the charges against his client, her attorney Michael Galligan hopes the community does not rush to judgment against her.
“She’s a nice lady,” Galligan said. “In this country you are innocent until proven guilty.”
Galligan said there are defenses for the allegations against Tubb and that she will have her day in court.