So, why am I writing about this? If you are a relatively new reader, you probably don’t know that I followed food stamp fraud stories for many years as a sideline to my refugee research work. (We had a bust in my county just as the refugee arrivals began in earnest.)
I first became interested in it when I noticed that the majority of busts I was reading about, mostly at small grocery stores and convenience stores, were of immigrant owners and managers.
If you click here you can see many years worth of stories on food stamp fraud here at RRW. Many are million dollar frauds involving trafficking perpetrated by frankly many Middle Eastern/Asian immigrants some of whom sent the money they ripped off out of the country.
Here is a story about a recent report from the Dept. of Agriculture on the extent of the fraud. Let’s hope Big Don will take care of these crooks!
Remember readers, trafficking involves big bucks, your money! It is not about people buying junk food on food stamps.
From CNS News:
(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a report estimating that 35,891 food retailers around the country engaged in food stamp fraud, illegally “trafficking” more than $1 billion in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits annually over the three-year period from 2012 through 2014.
CNS News continues….
“Retailer trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits occurs primarily when SNAP recipients sell their benefits for cash to food retailers, often at a discount,” the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service said in a summary of the report.
“SNAP benefits are permitted for the purchase of eligible food items from authorized food retailers,” said the report. “The sale or exchange of SNAP benefits for anything other than food sold by an authorized SNAP retailer is illegal.”
“An estimated $1.077 billion in SNAP benefits annually were trafficked and thereby diverted from their intended purpose,” said the report.
“Overall, about 1.5 percent of total SNAP benefits were trafficked; and approximately 11.8 percent of all authorized SNAP stores engaged in trafficking,” it said.
“Trafficking is defined as buying or selling benefits for cash or consideration other than eligible food, and the penalty is permanent disqualification,” said the report. “Permanent disqualification occurs when a retailer’s authorization to redeem SNAP benefits is revoked.”
States where ‘diversity is beautiful’ have the highest number of illegal operations.
A breakdown by states showed that the largest number of retailers permanently disqualified from SNAP in fiscal 2016 were in New York (448), the second largest number was in Florida (175), the third largest was in California (133) and the fourth largest was in New Jersey (130).
Go get’em Donald!
Again, see my food stamp fraud archive by clicking here. There are some doozy stories there!