Is It Really Over?

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13863791 - shopping cart and stocks of dollars close up shot.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud a.k.a. food stamp fraud will never end until government program beneficiaries stop trading in their benefits to fraudulent store owners, looking to make a quick buck. An article posted on TurnTo10.com states that a two-year investigation into food stamp fraud in Providence, Rhode Island has ended, yielding the arrest and conviction of 11 convenience store owners and their employees. (But is it really over?)

The story states that a street worker used a hidden camera to provide evidence to convict the last person to be sentenced. (Doesn’t that make you wonder if the meter maid you see writing tickets for parking violations and the garbage man you see riding on the back of the truck is really who they appear to be?) Apparently, the camera captured transactions at convenience stores where clerks exchanged cash for benefits on EBT cards. (The stores generally split the proceeds 50/50.)

The investigation into the scam, which is estimated to have cost the State of Rhode Island $3.6 million, was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the office of Inspector General, the IRS and the Rhode Island State Police. The last store owner to get convicted stole $400,000 from the Food Stamp Program. He will serve 18 months in prison for his deceptive acts.

Congratulations to the food stamp fraud-busting team. Even though this investigation was successful in catching a number of food stamp criminals, this problem remains. As long as there are benefits to be had, fraud will continue at the expense of those who truly qualify for and deserve the benefit.

 

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”I-Team: Last Suspect Sentenced in Food Stamp Fraud Case,” written by Parker Gavigan and published by TurnTo10.com on September 22, 2014.

PROVIDENCE – An NBC 10 I-Team undercover investigation that began three years ago highlighted food stamp fraud in Providence.

A subsequent federal investigation convicted 11 convenience store owners and their employees, the last sentenced on Friday.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.