Wiping Out Widespread Food Stamp Fraud

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According to an article posted on TurnTo10.com, one out of every 20 food stamp transactions is fraudulent. This statistic supports the idea that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud is a widespread problem. The story details the criminal acts of one corrupt convenience store owner who was stopped from defrauding the federal benefits program.

The article states that over a three-year period, the owner of a Providence market allowed food stamp beneficiaries to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to make small purchases. The owner charged a much larger amount for the transaction, splitting the difference in cash between the beneficiary and the store. (Now, that’s a problem.) The phony transactions resulted in the reimbursement of more than $1 million in government funds into the store’s account. The 37-year old woman used $400,000 of that amount to buy a home and a new car. In order to conceal her crime, she only withdrew $10,000 at a time. (Obviously, her plan did not work and she got caught.)

The fraudster pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and money laundering. She will spend one year and a day in prison for her crime, followed by three years of supervised release, including eight months in which she will be electronically monitored. The store owner also was ordered to pay $399,000 in restitution. The story states that the convenience store owner is believed to have been in the U.S. illegally during the time in which the crime was committed, and she has been ordered by the judge to cooperate with immigration officials. (That’s a really good idea!)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”I-Team: Store Owner Sentenced for Food Stamp Fraud,” written by Jim Taricani and published by TurnTo10.com on December 20, 2013.

PROVIDENCE – A woman who pleaded guilty to bilking the federal government out of nearly $400,000 through food stamp fraud has been sentenced to prison.

Defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP, commonly known as the food stamp program — is a national problem. The government estimates that one out of every 20 food stamp transaction is fraudulent.

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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.