FOOD STAMP FRAUD: SNAP DEBIT CARDS USED TO WITHDRAW $330 MILLION CASH
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Did you know that some food stamp recipients are using their SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) debit cards to withdraw cash? Yes, that’s correct. They are able to select the “cash-back” option after making a purchase in the same way that you and I can get cash back. The difference? The cash is taxpayer money. These frauds are estimated to cost taxpayers $330 million a year.
It is a true miscarriage of justice when taxpayer’s hard earned money is not only going to supplement government dependency, but also criminal activity!
One couple, Magdalena and Jamal Akhter, who own a convenience store, allows customers to use their SNAP debit cards to get “cash-back” after making a purchase. This is clearly against the rules. The couple would then keep half the money and give the rest to the SNAP beneficiary.
In 2012 alone, the USDA reviewed 15,000 stores around the nation and had to disqualify almost 1,400 of them for violating rules within the program, Fox Business reports.
Similar stories have been discovered around the country. Since the beginning of 2012, 536 stores have already been disqualified from being able to accept SNAP, with 336 more stores facing sanctions for violations.
The Agriculture Department estimated that illegal food stamp schemes cost taxpayers $330 million a year. The schemes can look as simple as stores selling prohibited items, like liquor or tobacco, in return for food stamp cash, the Marketplace Economy reports.
As the SNAP program grows so will scams, experts say. Rachel Sheffield, policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, says SNAP program spending has nearly doubled since 2008.
Sheffield went on to explain that the biggest fraud facing the food stamp system is when people stay in the system longer then they are eligible. In other words, people will get a job, but fail to report it.
In 2012 alone, there were 46 million dependents in the SNAP program while the government spent about $78 million, according to Fox News. Scamming may just be the straw that breaks this camel’s long overburdened back.