Remember your early years of work? Your student loans might have kicked in, and your paycheck was smaller than you hoped. You and your friends probably split the bill at lunch or dinner. A whole new generation refers to the act of splitting the bill as “Going Halfsies.” Today’s Fraud of the Day from a CBS Chicago article shows us that struggling young professionals aren’t the only ones “going halfsies;” fraudsters have caught on to it, as well.
The article reports that a husband and wife from the Chicago area recently admitted to committing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud from August 2009 to April 2011. The couple used their food market to provide cash in exchange for SNAP benefits, often referred to as food stamps. (A fair trade? Not so much.) It is estimated that the couple conducted thousands of illegal transactions by simply swiping customers’ Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card – called a Link card in Illinois – containing the SNAP benefit and then providing $0.50 to the $1.00. (This is a classic example of “going halfsies.”) The scam cost taxpayers nearly $850,000.
Keep in mind, our admitted fraudsters weren’t the only ones ready to “go halfsies.” They couldn’t “go halfsies” on their own – there was a customer on the other end of that transaction. It makes me wonder what happens to individuals who sell their food stamps. Perhaps investigators should target not only those that organize the fraud, but also those who participate by selling their benefits for cash.