Five Very Hungry People

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You’ve heard of hot dog eating contests, or pie-eating contests, or contests that test a contestant’s abilities to consume unfathomable quantities of pizza – but what about $6 million worth? Impossible, you say? Not according to the state of Georgia, which as WTOC reports in today’s Fraud of the Day paid out $6 million in food stamps to five individuals. The individuals have now been indicted by a grand jury for fraud, but it’s the state of Georgia that might have you scratching your head – why didn’t they catch this before they paid it out? (Remember, government officials think there is only 1% of fraud in the food stamps program – that is the limit that states allow.)

One answer comes from U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver, who’s quoted as saying that the government is ”committed to investigating and prosecuting complex financial fraud.’? (Oooooh, a complex financial fraud? Let’s break this complex fraud down. One for you, one for me, one for you…? The alleged fraud here involved 13 stores in Savannah, Augusta, and Atlanta, as well as four other defendants who were engaged in the same plot; having ”illegally trafficked in food stamps and Women Infant and Children (WIC) benefits.”

The scheme itself, however, was rather simple: exchanging food stamps and benefits for cash. And it worked well enough – at least for a year. Now the five individuals each face one count of conspiracy, which could put them each behind bars for up to five years and cost up to $250,000 in fines in the aggregate. How many hot dogs does that buy for the average taxpayer?

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”5 indicted in $6M food stamp fraud case” by WTOC, November 10, 2011.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Five people have been indicted in connection with a $6 million food stamp fraud scheme.

Tunisia Woodward, 37, of Atlanta, Rashella Reed, 40, of Riverdale, John Hood, 37, of Atlanta, Jason Boddie, 20, of Atlanta, and Derrick Robinson, 40, of Riverdale were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia.

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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.