San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trent Edwards testified before a Senate panel Tuesday about his time as a food stamp recipient, which included a $2,500 check to help his family cover rent.
The hearing, conducted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, focused on the allegations that Edwards received improper benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a child.
It comes just two weeks after the former 49ers running back was arrested and charged with mail fraud in California.
The investigation began in 2015 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) identified Edwards as a beneficiary of the SNAP program.
Edwards was a player at San Jose State University in California, and his college teammate, 49ers defensive lineman J.J. Watt, also claimed the benefits.
The NFL said Watt was suspended for four games for his role in the case.
Edwards has been suspended since April.
According to the report, the National Child Exploitation Task Force, the agency that oversees the SNAP Program, began receiving complaints from SNAP recipients in 2017.
It concluded that SNAP recipients who reported receiving improper benefits in the past were in danger of being targeted and victimized.NCMECA and its agents contacted the San Jose police, which responded to Edwards’ home, and Edwards was arrested.
The investigation found that he used the checks to cover rent and rent costs.
“We do believe that this is a clear case of SNAP fraud,” the report said.
“The funds received by Trent Edwards were improperly used by him in violation of federal law, and he should be held accountable for the money,” it said.
“If we find a similar pattern of SNAP abuse in the future, we will take immediate action.”
The investigation determined that Edwards did not qualify for any federal benefits, including the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
In fact, he was a beneficiary in his college years.
The report said the $2.5 million check to cover his rent was not enough to cover the rent.
Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the charges.