The Grand Rapids Press recently reported James Taylor of Lansing, Michigan received a sentence of more than 15 years in federal prison for his part in a $500,000 food-stamp scheme.  (And this is a program that claims to have ONLY one percent of fraud?)

The Food Stamps program aka the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program.

Taylor was accused of trading cash, marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin and a firearm for electronic food-stamp benefits at a local general store.  (Now this may truly be a full-service general store.)  Four other defendants including a friend and family members are also in prison in connection with the scheme.  (How nice…a reunion in a gated community.  Let’s make sure they don’t use the time to learn a new trade like tax refund fraud…)

According to the article, the defendants “typically accepted electronic benefits on Bridge Cards in exchange for cash and other items.”  Used like debit cards, Bridge Cards allow the holder to electronically transfer money into bank accounts.  The defendants would “take half of the benefits in exchange for cash,” which the article noted is a “common scheme” in West Michigan.  (Common?! We need a strategy to combat this nonsense!)

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