Refugee Resettlement Watch

Food Stamp fraud getting the attention of mainstream media!

Posted by Ann Corcoran on December 29, 2012

Update December 30th:  The New York Post has a story on food stamp fraud, but they are dancing around it.  Good quote in here though by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, so the whole smarmy issue is percolating up to the surface.

I am so excited to report that a writer (Isaac Wolf) for Scripps Howard News Service has spent months investigating cases of food stamp fraud where the fraudster had a previous criminal record and should never have been permitted to participate in the program.

Long time readers here at RRW know that this topic—food stamp fraud—became a side hobby of mine when I noticed the disproportionate number of immigrant-run stores participating in trafficking fraud (that means purchasing stamps for cash from customers at a reduced rate but then being reimbursed by the taxpayer for the full value of the benefit).  LOL! Just look at it as a form of the redistribution by the government of your wealth!

Here is the story by Isaac Wolf at ABC News:

Within the ranks of merchants accepting food stamps are convicted criminals who have previously been caught stealing cars, committing armed assault and selling drugs.

Although strict, long-standing federal rules are supposed to prevent known thieves and cheats from participating as retailers in the food-stamp program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rarely banishes them from the lucrative market, an eight-month Scripps Howard News Service investigation has found.

State and local law enforcement officials who have built cases against the rogue retailers — who often also trade in black-market cigarettes and sell stolen items such as baby formula or razor blades — are frustrated that taxpayers’ money continues to line the merchants’ pockets.

“The people doing this are criminals,” said Bill Chandler, who retired in 2009 as the director of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s alcohol-enforcement division, and is now an agent with the Sanford, N.C., police department. “They will do anything they can to make a dollar.”

Scripps reporters documented in early 2012 how the USDA has allowed storeowners previously caught engaging in food-stamp fraud to slip unnoticed back into the federal program. In response, the USDA promised to institute stronger oversight, opened a criminal investigation on a case identified by Scripps, and booted another seven stores identified by Scripps from the rolls.

Since then, Scripps has unearthed records showing 19 businesses — including ones in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Ohio — owned by individuals whose criminal records should, under federal regulations, trigger expulsion from the $80 billion-a-year food-stamp trade, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Scripps also identified eight individuals who are under active criminal investigation for food-stamp fraud and other crimes but whose stores remain in business, and another 27 stores whose owners have been caught violating the spirit of federal anti-fraud rules — by, for example selling black-market cigarettes and liquor, or obstructing investigations.

When Scripps presented a sampling of the criminal histories to the USDA in July, the agency said it would investigate.

There is more, please read it all!

Then get this, the names of three crooks identified in this story by reporter Wolf are:

Ghassan Abdelkarim

Karanjit Singh

Francisco Perez  (identified in the story as an illegal alien)

Do you see a pattern here?

Since I foolishly never set up a category for food stamp fraud when I first began writing about it nearly 5 years ago, to learn more, type ‘food stamp fraud’ into our search function for dozens and dozens of posts on the topic.

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4 Responses to “Food Stamp fraud getting the attention of mainstream media!”

  1. [...] Food Stamp fraud getting the attention of mainstream media! [...]

  2. brant119 said

    Ann

    Food Stamp fraud is a disgrace. Have you have ever wondered exactly what percentage of food stamp criminals overall are refugees? You spotlight those cases, however I would think there are at least as many if not more Americans who are involved. In Atlanta given are demographics, most cases are within the African American community. The issue is poverty and moral scruples sometimes are put aside but there is no excuse for it. Those who commit fraud would do so in other areas instead even if there were no food stamps. We have folks here filing false tax returns with extra credits for often unsuspecting refugees. I would doubt that the prepares are all refugees or immigrants.

    • Ann Corcoran said

      There is lots of fraud all around—yes, on those fraudulent tax returns too! If you’ve followed RRW carefully, you should know that I almost always refer to the food stamp fraud scams as a side interest of mine. I doubt very many refugees are opening up convenience stores, but I can guarantee that 95% of the cases of trafficking I learn about involve immigrant-owned stores. Very rarely is an American (black or white) the owner of one of the stores doing the heavy-duty trafficking.

      However, I have noted on occasion that those who SELL their food stamp benefits to these scammers for cash are also breaking the law and some have been prosecuted. So to the extent refugees are selling their stamps, they too should beware. And, if you work with refugees you should warn them that selling their stamps can send them to jail too!

  3. genomega1 said

    Reblogged this on News You May Have Missed and commented:
    Food Stamp fraud getting the attention of mainstream media!

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