Stamp of Disapproval

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp program, provides federal aid to approved beneficiaries with little or no income living within the U.S. (Tax dollars subsidize specific food purchases at approved retail food stores.) An article posted on Syracuse.com tells about two men who capitalized on others’ misfortune by raking in about $1.7 million at their retail store through the exchange of food stamps for unapproved items.

The story states that for more than three years, the owner of a Syracuse retail store and an employee accepted SNAP benefit coupons in exchange for cash or non-food items such as clothing, cell phones and DVDs. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t sound like food at all.)

The 46-year-old store owner, who was also a state employee, was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiring to commit food stamp fraud. The 32-year-old former employee was sentenced to 18 months for his part in the crime. (Not to mention he is now facing deportation along with other immigration violations.) The two men were ordered to pay approximately $1.7 million in restitution.

SNAP is essentially a hunger safety net that provides nutrition assistance to millions of individuals and families who need to put food on the table. (Unfortunately, the program is also a big target for those criminals who seek to serve themselves without regard to the hunger of others.) Congratulations to the government for catching these two criminals and preventing further loss of tax payer dollars. Judging by the sentences handed down, the government has added their stamp of disapproval.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Two Syracuse Men Sentenced for $1.7 Million in Food Stamp Fraud,” written by Dave Tobin and posted on Syracuse.com on April 3, 2015.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two men who immigrated from Gambia were sentenced today in federal court for conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud.

Ebrima Krubally 46, of Syracuse, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and Alieu Jaiteh, 32, of Syracuse, was sentenced to 18 months, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The two had previously pleaded guilty to the federal charges.

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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.