It’s unfortunate when people abuse the benefits extended to them by engaging in criminal activities. In fact, it is more than tragic, it’s a shock and calls for just the sort of aggressive prosecution and punishment that we’ve just witnessed.
The food stamp program has been filled with fraud. What started as a push to combat hunger and malnutrition among the poor have transformed into an opportunity for criminals to drain the system and change over a social service benefit program into a personal enrichment scheme.
Mohammed Shafiq, who lives in Baltimore, simply had his program of food stamp fraud brought to an end with a conviction and a sentence of four years in jail followed by three years of post-prison supervision. In addition, he was requested to make payment in the amount of $3.7 million.
“Shafiq was the latest defendant to be sentenced in a series of prosecutions of 14 retailers in the Baltimore area”
“A federal grand jury indicted the retailers in August 2016 for food stamp and wire fraud”
“The 14 retailers stole a total of $16 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by illegally exchanging food stamps for cash” According to the indictment.
What these people are doing here is trading food stamp benefits for cash, a crime. The law is that food stamp benefits are to be utilized just by the person whom they were issued and only to purchase food from a list of affirmed items. Selling them to another person for money to be used for whatever other reasons, is illegal.
“Multiple stores across the country have been cited for millions of dollars in food stamp fraud”
“Investigators found more than $20 million worth of food stamp fraud at retailers in Florida, and 140 stores in Chicago were cited for food stamp fraud”
This can be a major business as those who facilitate these illegal exchanges take a cut of the proceeds for their part in the crime. And it doesn’t take too much imagination to think of what the food stamp beneficiary who now has money rather than food stamp benefits might choose to use that money for.