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Grocery store food stamp fraud lawyer

If your grocery store or convenience store has been accused of food stamp fraud, then you need an experienced lawyer to represent you.

Food stamp fraud in New York carries significant penalties for retailers. Here’s what you need to know to fight the charge.

Types of food stamp fraud for Retailers

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides food stamps through its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Although snap originally provided actual stamps with cash values, it later switched to the current system, where recipients of food stamps receive a certain amount deposited onto an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
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Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
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17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
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01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

There are a couple common ways that retailers can commit food stamp fraud.

The most common type of retailer food stamp fraud is trafficking. This is when you purchase a customer’s snap benefits for cash or other items.

A standard transaction with a customer using food stamps would involve you selling the customer an eligible item and charging his EBT card for the amount, just like you would any other debit card.

The difference with trafficking is that you’re charging the customer for a non-existent transaction or you’re charging him more than he should pay for an item, with his consent. In return, you give him a portion of the extra amount that you charged him.

For example, if a customer came in to your store and you charged his EBT card $200, then gave him $100, that would be trafficking. You’re collecting $200 even though you haven’t provided $200 of merchandise to the customer, and you’re facilitating the customer’s fraud by giving him $100 cash.

Another common type of food stamp fraud is allowing the customer to purchase ineligible items. The USDA provides information on items that are and aren’t eligible for snap purchases. snap benefits can be put towards most common household foods, but the customer can’t use them for alcohol, tobacco products, non-food items, hot foods and medicines.

If you allowed a customer to purchase something on that list, then you’d be committing fraud. Retailers often do this and charge the customer extra for the purchase. An example would be a liquor store selling 1942 tequila.

Penalties of Food Stamp Fraud for Retailers

There are serious penalties involved if you’re convicted of food stamp fraud. Your penalties will depend on the specific offense and the monetary value of the goods involved.

Food stamp fraud will typically include a civil penalty. If you’re found guilty of trafficking, a court in New York can fine you up to $100,000 per instance of trafficking, meaning those costs can add up quickly. If you sell ineligible items for snap benefits, the amount you’re fined will depend on the value of the items.

Allowing a customer to purchase a gun or controlled substance with snap benefits also carries a steep penalty of up to 0,000 per violation.

The prosecutor can press criminal charges against you for food stamp fraud. Depending on the circumstances of your case, this could result in jail time.

Another issue with food stamp fraud is that it can lead to you getting disqualified from the snap program, either permanently or temporarily. If your store is in a low-income area with a large number of people who receive snap benefits, then this can result in a significant loss of income.

How long can you expect a disqualification to last?

Any convictions for trafficking or selling either guns or controlled substances will lead to a permanent disqualification. Selling tobacco products or alcohol to customers paying with snap benefits could earn you a three to five-year suspension. Sale of any other ineligible nonfood products could bring a six-month to three-year disqualification.

These aren’t just penalties that no one ever gets, either. In 2015, the owners of Big Boys Food Market pled guilty to food stamp fraud. For the period from April of 2012 to May of 2013, the two brothers who owned the market were found to have exchanged almost 8,000 worth of snap benefits for cash.

Even though they cooperated by pleading guilty, the brothers were still sentenced to each make full restitution to the USDA for the $147,658.28 they fraudulently took from the program. One of the brothers received a 12-month prison sentence, and the other received two years of probation along with a five-month sentence for home detention.

Hiring a Grocery Store Food Stamp Lawyer

The best move you can make if you’re dealing with a food stamp fraud accusation is getting in touch with a qualified grocery store food stamp lawyer who can prepare the most effective defense for you.

Your business could be at stake. Considering penalties for food stamp fraud in New York can reach $100,000 and result in jail time, a conviction will be a serious issue for you. That’s not even considering the damage a snap disqualification can do to your store’s earning potential if you have quite a few customers who pay for items using their EBT cards.

Your lawyer will be able to assess your situation and the case against you to set up your defense. If a plea deal is a possibility, your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor and get the most favorable terms for you. Contact a food stamp lawyer right away to give yourself the best chance at success fighting your case.

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