The Sting of Fraud

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No one likes to be stung – whether by a bee, a bad belly flop into a swimming pool or by undercover government agents. (It’s just not comfortable.) Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” from the Gwinnett Daily Post follows the story of a Georgia businessman who got caught in an undercover sting that revealed a fraudulent food stamp scheme responsible for bilking the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Progra? and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of more than $1 million.

The story details that the scam involved the owner of six convenience stores. For more than two years, the store reportedly redeemed WIC vouchers valued at more than $2.3 million. (The WIC program provides supplemental foods as well as health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or non-breast feeding following the birth of a child. It also covers children up to the age of five who are determined to be at nutritional risk.) The convenience store owner paid beneficiaries significantly less than the benefits were worth and kept the rest for himself.

While investigating a robbery at one of the stores, a log detailing a record of the owner’s illegal food stamp sales was discovered. (Did I mention that the amount of WIC and SNAP benefits redeemed at the store totaled approximately $2 million more than what the average store redeems?) To confirm suspicions, undercover agents were sent in for a sting and were able to illegally buy WIC vouchers and SNAP benefits.

The 47-year-old store owner was sentenced to five years and seven months for his illegal actions. He was also ordered to pay $800,015 in restitution.

This man’s greed defeated the purpose of the benefit programs, which aspire to make sure mothers, children and low-income families have nutritious food. (In this case, the government delivered a tough blow to the fraudster that will surely sting for some time to come.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Gwinnett Store Owner Sentenced to Prison for $1 Million Food-stamp Fraud,” written by Joshua Sharpe and published by the Gwinnett Daily Post on June 15, 2015.

A Grayson businessman is going to federal prison for a food stamp racket worth more than $1 million, authorities announced Tuesday.

Terry Stinson, 47, who owned and operated six convenience stores around Gwinnett County, was sentenced to five years and seven months for the scam, which involved paying people cash for their government benefits, according to a news release.

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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.