Immigrant food stamp scammers on the rise; Michigan among the worst
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 2, 2010
We are not talking about the petty stuff—you know like buying some disallowed food or drink item or hiding some of one’s income in order to be eligible. This is about massive hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraud through the food stamp program and your tax dollars being sent to Africa and elsewhere.
As a matter of fact, I’m wondering if the raid on a halal meat store in Lewiston, Maine last week involved food stamps and money transfers to Somalia.
Also, see the mention in the post I wrote about Muslims attacking Rep. Sue Myrick for her statements warning of Muslim convenience store owners laundering money. Myrick was right and should have had the facts at her fingertips, like the facts in the following AP story.
From the Oakland Press:
Fraud in the government program that helps the poor has added up to nearly $100 million since 2007, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. It’s a fraction of the more than $40 billion spent to feed people each year, but the crime has become a brazen way for some small stores to literally swipe cash from the U.S. Treasury, especially in the Detroit area.
There have been at least 122 fraud-related convictions of owners or employees in the five-state Midwest region since 2007, nearly double the number from 2004-06, says USDA, which oversees the welfare program. About half of those have occurred in southeastern Michigan.
Among the latest cases: A store west of downtown Detroit is accused of selling bags of the exotic chewy drug khat in exchange for food-stamp benefits. Agents in another investigation discovered that cash was wired to Somalia and other countries.
The boldest scam works like this: People hungry for cash ask the store to ring up a small food sale or a phony one. An employee agrees to hand over money, maybe $50, but takes a larger amount off the card for a nice profit, sometimes as high as 100 percent.
Taxpayers get stung when money is transferred to a store’s bank account from the U.S. Treasury.
More than 100 stores in Michigan have been kicked out of the program since fall 2007. Nationally, 1,437 were disqualified during the government’s 2009 fiscal year, said Alan Shannon, a Midwest spokesman for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
North American Money Transfer Inc. recently agreed to pay $25,000 and open its books to investigators in a deal to dismiss an indictment that was tied to how it handled money that flowed through an Ypsilanti store, Abbas Phone Card and Grocery.
The government says food-stamp recipients instructed the store to take money off their cards and get it wired to Somalia and other destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The grocery would charge a 25 percent fee.
We’ve covered many many food stamp scam cases here at RRW, a favorite subject of mine ever since the Pakistani scammer in our county got sent away for a few years. Use our search function for ‘food stamp fraud’ to learn more.
But, definitely take a minute and visit this 2008 post I wrote about how the Michigan Attorney Generals Office is so steeped in political correctness they claim they didn’t notice that all the scammers they were prosecuting had similar ethnic names until it was pointed out to them by an Arab publication. Visit that post and have a chuckle—you know it’s kind of like white biker gangs!
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