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retail food stamp trafficking

January 29, 2019

Over the crourse of American history, government officials have developed a basic safety net. This safety net is designed to offer American citizens the help they need in order to meet their basic needs. One basic need that all humans have is making sure they are fed. For needy families everywhere, it can be hard to make sure that everyone has enough to eat. Enter the government. Government officials during the Great Depression developed a program designed to help eliminate hunger in the United States. The goal of this program is make sure that no one goes hungry in America. As such, the people who use it must adhere to certain kinds of rules. These rules aim to make sure that all food stamps are only spent on food rather than anything else instead. Recipients can buy things like bread, cereal, fruit, vegetables, and meat and dairy products. They are not allowed to purchase items such as pet food and soap.

Food Stamp Fraud

Sometimes, people may use food stamps for other purposes. This is known as food stamp fraud. Food stamp fraud can take varied forms. For example, someone may choose to use their food stamps in an attempt to use them for things that are not covered under this program. While it may be tempting to do that, someone who is needy and can’t afford essentials can often find help in other ways from organizations dedicated to serving the needs of the poor.

Another form of food stamp fraud is what is known as food stamp trafficking. When people engage in food stamp trafficking, they agree to sell the food stamps to another party in turn for cash that the person uses to buy items that are not covered under the program such as alcohol or food they consume on the premises. In many instances, this second party that takes the food stamps from them is usually a retailer selling food and other items. They take the food stamps and redeem them from the government and then use the funds to buy additional merchandise to sell.

Modern Methods

As the food stamps program has grown, so has the method used. In previous decades, food stamps were literally paper. This would make it hard for officials to track fraud. Today, when people get food stamps they get a card that resembles many other similar cards such as credit cards. When people use the card, they are given the opportunity to see how much they have paid and how much they have left. In doing so, the system has made it easier to see if there’s any evidence of food stamp misuse. It’s possible to see how the funds are used in great detail. They are able to see what each person buys, where they buy it and how much they are spending on food each time. As people use the cards, they are monitored closely. If there’s any indication that there may a problem, patterns can indicate possible fraud.

Potential Penalties

Those who engage in this kind of food stamp fraud can face all sorts of potential legal problems. People who sell less than a hundred dollars worth of food stamps can be convicted of what is known as a misdemeanor. They can be fined and may be sent to prison. People who engage in larger amounts of food stamp trafficking or do so on more than one occasion may face all sorts of additional fines and the increased possibility of jail time. Both merchants and those who use food stamps may be at risk of such accusations and any possible penalties that come with them.

This is why it is ideal to have help from lawyers who understand the system and can make sure that all evidence is brought out. They will speak to the investigators on the person’s behalf. They will also speak to any legal officials and help explain what really happened. A lawyer can also help make sure that the person who is accused has all legal means at their disposal in order to potential penalties that may include being permanently disallowed from ever using this form of federal assistance.

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