Deputy sheriff accused of food stamp fraud

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WHDH) - A deputy sheriff in Rhode Island is facing charges after investigators say he fraudulently collected food stamps while out on work-related injury leave with full pay.

Edward Cooper Jr., 49, of Providence, surrendered to state police Wednesday night on a criminal complaint charging him with fraudulently obtaining assistance over $500, fraudulent use of food stamps over $500 and giving false documents to a public official.

Cooper applied for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits on Dec. 1, 2015, and collected food stamp benefits totaling $12,065 through Nov. 1, 2017, officials said. The investigation found that Cooper applied for public assistance and didn’t provide accurate information, according to investigators.

Cooper, a 14-year veteran of Rhode Island Division of Sheriffs, has been out of work due to a job-related injury since Oct. 20, 2015. As a result of his injured-on-duty status, Cooper receives his annual, tax-free salary of $54,866.

Cooper was arraigned and released on personal recognizance. He is due back in court at a later time.

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