Cold at Heart


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The average low temperature in Fargo, North Dakota, registers below freezing six months out of the year. The Grand Forks Herald tells the story of two female co-conspirators living in Fargo who may have been affected by the deep freeze, causing them to devise a plan that bilked more than $365,000 from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). (That buys an awful lot of hot cocoa mix!)

According to the story, over a period of eighteen months, the two female grocery store operators participated in a ”cash-back” scheme that involved making fraudulent transactions on food stamp electronic benefit transfer cards. The grocers allowed the full amount of the transaction to be transferred to their company’s bank account, then paid the cardholder half the transaction amount in cash. (SNAP benefits are not allowed to be used to get cash – hence the word ‘Nutrition’ and not ‘ATM’ in the title.)

For their crimes, the two women were sentenced to serve undisclosed terms of home confinement. (Is staying indoors in Fargo in winter that much of a punishment?) They were also ordered to pay a $100 fine and perform community service. (At least that will force them back out into the cold.)

Whatever led them to conspire against the government, honest taxpayers and individuals who truly need the benefit assistance, let’s hope that this punishment put a chill on food stamp fraud in Fargo by discouraging others from participating.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Two women sentenced in $365,00 food stamp fraud,” written by Forum News Service and published by The Grand Forks Herald on December 4, 2015.

FARGO — Two Fargo residents were sentenced in federal court Thursday in a $365,000 food stamps fraud case, U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers said in a statement.

Lamia Ali, 48, and Abass Hassan Amedi, 51, were ordered to pay the money back, serve a period of home confinement, do community service, and pay $100.

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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.