Just Another Day at the Supermarket

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Ok – you’ve got your grocery list in-check and have finally made time for the trip to the supermarket. The question is? where are you going to buy groceries? You could opt for proximity – it is always a pain to drive further than needed. You also could target the store featuring the best deals of the week. Of course, if those options don’t strike your fancy, you could always try the supermarket that swaps electronic benefits cards for discounted cash. Yes…you guessed it? we’re talking about food stamp fraud.

According to MySanAntonio.com, the cards swap deal didn’t work out as planned for a Texas grocer. The man, who ran a local supermarket, was recently sentenced to nearly four years in prison and is required to pay the state $2.5 million for defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). ($2.5 million in food stamps. Now, that is a busy store. Must be tough finding a parking place.)

So, how did the scam work? The grocer would swap SNAP benefit cards in exchange for a discounted amount of cash; then, he would charge the government for the full value of the electronic benefits card transaction. (Sounds like he was really running some sort of Food Stamp Bank & Trust.)

They say ”everything is bigger in Texas.’? That’s especially true when it comes to the penalties for fraud.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Texas Grocer Gets Prison Over Food Stamp Fraud,” published by MySanAntonio.com, January 18, 2012.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A South Texas grocer has been sentenced to almost four years in prison and must repay nearly $2.5 million over electronic food stamp fraud.

Prosecutors say 56-year-old Parviz Sheikh Rezaei ran Pariz Dollar Supermarket in Brownsville.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.