By Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2020

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Human Services will pay $5 million to the federal government to settle claims that it manipulated reporting within a food assistance program and received undeserved performance bonuses.

The settlement announced Monday stems from allegations that Julie Osnes Consulting, LLC, gave the state recommendations which injected bias into its federal reporting for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington.

Mississippi hired the consulting company in 2011, but the office states the settlement involves alleged false reporting data for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

Alaska, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Osnes Consulting and its owner, have reached settlements with the government in the federal investigation, the release stated.

The settlement resolves the allegations but there has been no determination of liability, according to the release.

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