According to an article posted on TurnTo10.com, one out of every 20 food stamp transactions is fraudulent. This statistic supports the idea that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud is a widespread problem. The story details the criminal acts of one corrupt convenience store owner who was stopped from defrauding the federal benefits program.
The article states that over a three-year period, the owner of a Providence market allowed food stamp beneficiaries to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to make small purchases. The owner charged a much larger amount for the transaction, splitting the difference in cash between the beneficiary and the store. (Now, that’s a problem.) The phony transactions resulted in the reimbursement of more than $1 million in government funds into the store’s account. The 37-year old woman used $400,000 of that amount to buy a home and a new car. In order to conceal her crime, she only withdrew $10,000 at a time. (Obviously, her plan did not work and she got caught.)
The fraudster pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and money laundering. She will spend one year and a day in prison for her crime, followed by three years of supervised release, including eight months in which she will be electronically monitored. The store owner also was ordered to pay $399,000 in restitution. The story states that the convenience store owner is believed to have been in the U.S. illegally during the time in which the crime was committed, and she has been ordered by the judge to cooperate with immigration officials. (That’s a really good idea!)