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Every Penny Counts

FoodStamps-Food-GroceryStores-11
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

SNAP provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget so they can afford nutritious food that is often unaffordable. Sadly, this is an easy target for fraud. In 2019, USDA reported that approximately $30.9 million was identified in fraud-related losses. No word about more recent years but expect it to be the same if not more. Federal hand‐​out programs have proven to be easy to loot by fraudsters. Like Guyatree Singh. Singh engaged in a scheme to defraud at least approximately 120 SNAP recipients living in the Southern District of New York  of their SNAP benefits. A majority of these victims were elderly. In total, Singh defrauded the victims out of at least approximately $49,754.52 in benefits. Ironically, Singh herself is a recipient of SNAP benefits herself.

From April 2019 through May 2023, Singh called SNAP recipients and pretended to be a New York State employee working for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Singh asked the victims for their personally identifiable information, including their dates of birth and social security numbers. Unbeknownst to the victims, Singh then used this information to reset the personal identification numbers (PIN) on their EBT cards. Once the PINs were reset, Singh used the victims’ EBT account numbers and new PINs to make purchases for herself at grocery stores in Florida using the victims’ SNAP funds.  On at least 15 occasions, Singh depleted the balance on the victim’s EBT card.

$49,754 may not seem like a lot in the broad scheme of stolen government funds. But it is a lot to the victims. Before any SNAP programs can be applied, household income be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line. In 2023, for a family of three, the poverty line was $1,920 a month.  At that point, every person is hungry and every penny counts. Luckily, Singh was caught and is facing trial.

Great job by the F.B.I in this investigation.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Fl. woman stole $50k of SNAP benefits from older New Yorkers” published by PIX11 on August 9, 2023

A Florida woman is facing serious charges after allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits from low-income New Yorkers, officials said.

Guyatree Singh, 51, allegedly posed as a New York State employee working for SNAP, and called victims asking for their identifiable information, such as birthdates and social security numbers, according to the indictment. Singh then used their information to access their EBT cards and make purchases at grocery stores in Florida with the victim’s SNAP funds.

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