JACKSON, Miss. — The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether the Mississippi Department of Human Services manipulated federal reporting within a public assistance program formerly known as food stamps.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the investigation is over the department’s management of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Investigators found some states manipulated reports through consultants, making them unreliable. In April, DOJ civil division Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler said Virginia and Wisconsin paid settlements over manipulating reports after hiring Julie Osnes Consulting.

Mississippi hired Osnes in 2011.

Human Services spokesman Paul Nelson said Wednesday that the department isn’t working with Osnes now, but continues work with federal partners to ensure guidelines are met.

Mississippi may have to pay back bonuses earned while using Osnes’ services, nearly $6 million between 2012 and 2015.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com