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Questioning The Plaintiff

Questioning The Plaintiff

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Do you ever wish you could take something back you said? Java’la Elam wishes she could. Like the time when she admitted to government benefit fraud on reality TV. In a 2021 episode of Judy Justice, plaintiff Javala Elam sues defendant Katrina Weems for $6,400 for the repossession of a car she supposedly purchased from Weems. But instead of coming to a settlement for the car, the reality show became a platform to announce that both were committing SNAP fraud. During the case’s opening arguments, as the parties were describing their relationship, Elam admitted to her unused food stamps to Weems. Luckily Judge Sheindlin was quick and asked, “Buying what?!” 

Investigators found proof to Elam’s and Weem’s scheme in confiscated films from the local Pick’n Save grocery stores which showed Weems checking out groceries with someone else’s cards. But the investigation was almost unnecessary since Elam and Weems openly discussed with Judge Judy their SNAP sales. Weems actually outed herself on TV admitting to buying benefits from those who needed cash and giving food to those who needed food, including herself. Unfortunately for Elam, who was only trying to give the backstory to their relationship, she was charged for trafficking government benefits by selling her SNAP benefits to other people.

It doesn’t matter what the intention behind buying and selling SNAP benefits is. Purchasing or transferring food stamps is a felony as Elam and Weems learned on reality TV. On August 7, 2023, Weems was charged with five felonies and Elam was charged with one.

Great job by Judge Judy for questioning the plaintiff!

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Milwaukee food stamp fraud case, ‘Judy Justice’ admission” published by Public Safety Fox News on August 7, 2023

Two Milwaukee women are charged with trafficking FoodShare benefits, and the crucial tip came from them on the TV show “Judy Justice.” The 2021 taping was for a civil lawsuit brought over the repossession of a car. Now, both women are facing felonies thanks to the reality TV show.

“Ms. Weems was buying stamps, and…” said Java’la Elam on “Judy Justice.” “Buying what?” Judge Judith Sheindlin asked. “Buying food stamps,” said Elam. “She was buying food stamps from whom?” asked Judge Judy. “From everybody, me included,” said Elam. Elam’s admission caught the longtime TV judge’s attention in her new show that streams online.

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