The idea of stealing was popularized in English literature by a character known for robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.  While it’s a romantic notion, stealing is still a crime.  According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, one market owner made it clear he was no romantic anti-hero; rather, he took to stealing Women, Infant and Children (WIC) vouchers for profit.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) intended food assistance programs to benefit those who are really in need.  And, WIC benefits were created to assist women in feeding their families. (I can’t fathom how criminals find it acceptable to steal – especially food from the mouths of women and children.) According to the article, an Atlanta fraudster owned and operated a convenience store authorized to redeem WIC benefits.  Investigators launched a warranted search of the store, seizing 100 blank WIC vouchers, and they discovered a scam nearing $400,000 in theft of federal money.

Officials explained the store owner and his employees traded cash for WIC vouchers, usually giving the recipient of the vouchers a percentage of the cash profits.  (Now, where have we seen this scam before?  Food Stamp fraud, anyone?) As part of the investigation, an undercover officer entered into 18 illegal transactions where the store owner and/or an employee traded cash for WIC vouchers. (BUSTED! Why did we wait for 18?) During the investigation, authorities discovered the bank account where the store owner deposited his earnings.  The fraudster was indicted in July 2012 for 18 counts of WIC fraud and 83 counts of possession of forged securities.  He faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for each charge of WIC fraud, as well as a maximum of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count of possession of forged securities. (After a quick calculation, he could face a total maximum of 920 years in prison and $21,200,000 in fines.)

Well, stealing from women and children isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, is it?  We will just wait and see the time you’ll be spending behind bars with your band of outlaws.

  1. Wow, that’s detestable. I wonder if the women selling their vouchers are penalized in any way? Not only is it against the law to buy them, it’s also against the law to sell them. Obviously, whoever is selling them qualifies for WIC and could probably use help nourishing themselves and their children, so would it be wrong to penalize them by refusing to give them more vouchers? Perhaps just keeping a good eye on their WIC usage would be a good solution.

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