Fish Story

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You’ve probably heard stories about the “one” that got away. (They always tend to be described as some monstrosity that has never been seen before.) The owner of a fish market in northeast Rochester, New York tried to get away with a monstrous $1.4 million in food stamp fraud, but the federal government smelled something fishy and reeled him in.

The fish market owner at the center of today’s fraud article is the son of the original owner who opened the doors of the corner store in 1954. The son, who changed the name of his father’s original business, carried out the scheme to illegally redeem food stamps over nearly six years. He bought food stamp benefits for less than half their full value. (Then he redeemed them for a considerable profit with the federal government, netting more than $1.2 million.)

The second scheme the fish market owner masterminded involved asking beneficiaries to use their food stamps to purchase fish from other markets. Then, they exchanged their purchases at the fraudster’s fish market for cash. (The food stamp beneficiaries used the cash to buy things that were not normally allowed under the government program, while the fish store owner received inventory he could mark up and sell at full price.) He made about $200,000 from the second illegal scam.

The 62-year-old from Pittsford, a suburb of Rochester, pleaded guilty to $1.4 million in food stamp fraud. He was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay $729,630 in restitution.

Business owners who are authorized to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are forbidden from exchanging food stamps for cash. (Unfortunately, this corner fish market owner was lured by greed and he took the bait.) It looks like the fishmonger’s line to a steady stream of benefits has been cut and he’s been thrown into the deep, dark waters of the justice system.

 Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Joseph Avenue fishmonger sentenced in $1.4M food stamp scheme,” published by the Democrat & Chronicle on February 7, 2018.

The owner of a long-established fish market in northeast Rochester was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison after admitting guilt in a $1.4 million food stamp fraud scheme.

Irving Feldman, a 62-year-old Pittsford resident, pleaded guilty in late 2016 to food stamp fraud in U.S. District Court in Rochester. He was also ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to pay $729,630 in restitution.

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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.