From all the reports of abuse, it sounds like the Food Stamp program must be subject to fraud in the extreme.
If you think about how it works, it’s easy to figure out ways to game the system. And it is clearly something that goes on far too frequently.
Desperate people do desperate things, and cheating on the food stamp program looks like a popular tool for getting some extra cash.
If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a little background on this busted system:
Food stamp recipients now receive what look like debt or credit cards. Their accounts on which these cards draw receive cash benefits once a month based on the information on their applications.
The recipient then uses the card like any other debit card at the grocery store, with the exception that items like liquor, tobacco, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and prepared meals cannot be bought with food stamps.
While one often thinks of food stamp recipients as the ones committing the fraud, crooked merchants can generate a lot of cash income by facilitating this fraud.
As an example, a Kentucky store owner was just sentenced to over five years in prison for about $400,000 in food stamp fraud.
“U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning gave Phyllis Tyler, 49, of Edgewood, a 66-month prison sentence for food stamp fraud, conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, and four separate instances of money laundering, WCPO reported.
“Tyler managed and operated A&E Fashion and Beauty Supply LLC, a convenience store in Covington, Kentucky, that accepted food stamps and sold items such as wigs, makeup, t-shirts, snacks, and beer.
“Prosecutors say Tyler purchased food stamp EBT cards from beneficiaries, giving them half the value of what the EBT cards were worth and used the EBT cards to purchase items from the store between January 2, 2012, until June 26, 2015.
“Each purchase she made using the EBT cards from her store got reimbursed by the federal government.
Under federal regulations, the government gives authorized food stamp retailers money for each purchase made with EBT cards.”
This is no small operation.
Note that, Tyler’s food stamp fraud totaled $408,979.76, and she laundered more than $10,000 that she obtained through food stamp fraud through a financial institution on four separate occasions, according to investigators.”
STORY CONTINUES BELOW…
Fortunately, she got caught.
The point of the food stamp program is to keep people from going hungry. Instead, fraud occurs when recipients sell their benefits to others for cash which they then spend on illegal drugs, liquor, or whatever they wish.
That’s why this is such an easy program to abuse.
An unscrupulous or desperate recipient of food stamps waits outside a grocery store and offers to accompany a shopper, paying for the shopper’s groceries with their food stamps, and being reimbursed by the shopper, who is now an accessory to this act of fraud, with cash.
This is also why it is vital that officials look for fraud, and prosecute it at every opportunity.
Next up: A complete overhaul of this severely broken program. Right, President Trump?