Stealing from the Hungry

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the average monthly grocery bill for a family of four as of November 2014 is around $900. (That is definitely not cheap.) A story posted on MySanAntonio.com reports on a former convenience store owner in Texas who committed $275,000 in food stamp fraud. (Think about the number of deserving food stamp beneficiaries that could have been fed nutritional meals with that amount of money.)

The article states that for a three-and-a-half year period, the former convenience store owner traded food stamp benefits for cash. Further research revealed that the man also sold ineligible items such as alcohol and tobacco to food stamp beneficiaries. (So much for buying nutritional items with the government’s money.)

The 55-year-old fraudster pleaded guilty to wire fraud. He is facing up to 20 years in federal prison. The author of the story speculates that this man’s punishment will probably be similar to another local store owner who was recently sentenced for the same crime. He got six months in prison for the theft of $200,000 in food stamp benefits. (That’s not nearly enough if you ask me.)

If a regular family of four with a good income spends about $900 a month for groceries, what does an impoverished family spend? (The answer is a whole lot less.) It’s alarming to know that food stamp fraud perpetrators would rather line their pockets with unearned cash when so many people can’t afford to put food on their tables. Let’s hope this fraudster receives a sentence that serves as an example and will encourage others not to repeat the same crime.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Ex-convenience Store Owner Guilty of $275,000 Food Stamp Fraud,” written by Guillermo Contreras and posted on MySanAntonio.com on December 11, 2014.

The former owner of a Seguin convenience store pleaded guilty Thursday to committing more than $275,000 in food stamp fraud.

Aijaz Aslam, 55, admitted that from November 2009 until May 2013 he committed wire fraud, selling ineligible items to beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, at J.M. Food Mart.

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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.