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Snap CIVIL MONEY PENALTIES Lawyers

If you own or manage a store that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps)benefits, you know the importance of remaining compliant with program rules. Unfortunately, there are some situations in which you, or your staff, may be found to be in violation of program regulations.

What are Typical SNAP Violations?

The Retailer Training Guide from the USDA lists some of the most common violations. The most serious is trafficking, in which a store owner or employee pays cash to a SNAP recipient in exchange for a benefit amount. Next, is exchanging firearms for benefits. The penalties for these violations are severe.

Other violations that can result in a disqualification include accepting SNAP benefits for prohibited items. Selling tobacco or alcohol in exchange for food stamps is treated as a more serious violation than the sale of things like toilet paper or pet food.

SNAP Violation Letters

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the administration of the SNAP program. Federal investigators carefully monitor SNAP transactions and are quick to spot fraud. If investigators find that your business has violated SNAP policies, you can expect to receive a letter from the USDA informing you that it intends to take action against your store.

The Possible Consequences

7 U.S. Code § 2021 and 7 Code of Federal Regulations 278.6 lay out the penalties for being out of compliance.

The federal government has the option of imposing a variety of penalties. These include fines as well as permanent or temporary disqualification from the SNAP program. Because SNAP purchases can make up a significant portion of your store’s sales, losing this income could harm your business significantly.

Your Options

Depending on the violations, you may be offered the option of paying a civil money penalty in lieu of program disqualification. Many store owners opt to pay this penalty, as it is likely less than the cost of a lengthy disqualification.

However, not all retailers will qualify for this option. If you are guilty of trafficking SNAP benefits or selling firearms or ammunition for benefit funds, you won’t be able to pay a fine in lieu of disqualification.

In addition, federal regulations make it clear that the store must meet all four of the following criteria to avoid being disqualified from the program:

1. Your shop must have developed a SNAP compliance policy.

2. Your compliance program was in operation before the violation or violations took place.

3. Your store has a training program for your employees.

4. Neither you, nor a fellow owner of the store, knew about, approved or benefitted from the fraud. If you did know or benefit from the violation, it was the first time this has happened.

You’ll be expected to detail your compliance with the above criteria in your response to the USDA letter.

The Time Limit

The USDA gives you only ten days to respond to their letter. For many business owners, this isn’t a lot of time to investigate what happened and to complete the information the agency requests.

Why You Need an Attorney for Your SNAP Violation Case

It’s understandable that you might be confused or upset when you receive your violation letter. After all, a disqualification threatens your business and income. However, this is not the time for a do-it-yourself approach. Failure to respond, or to respond appropriately, can cost your store a significant amount of money and result in customer ill-will.

A lawyer with SNAP experience can assist you in responding to the USDA if you believe that your store is not in violation of SNAP regulations.If you believe that your store was in violation, the attorney can help you provide the USDA with documentation of your eligibility for a fine instead of disqualification. In some cases, the attorney can also assist with keeping your fines as low as possible.


Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
Verified
I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
Mesonista parsons
Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
Verified
My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
Verified
Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
Asata Hendricks
Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
Verified
Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
Verified
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
Verified
Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
Verified
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
Verified
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

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