Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Why Choose Us

Clients can use our portal to track the status of their case, stay in touch with us, upload documents, and more.

Regardless of the type of situation you're facing, our attorneys are here to help you get quality representation.

We can setup consultations in person, over Zoom, or over the phone to help you. Bottom line, we're here to help you win your case.

Law in the Media

View All

Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.


By Spodek Law Group | June 30, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:21 pm

Understanding SNAP Violations – How Innocent Mistakes Can Lead to Serious Penalties

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides crucial food assistance to millions of low-income Americans. But operating a retail business that accepts SNAP benefits comes with serious responsibilities and compliance rules. Even inadvertent violations can trigger severe fines or disqualification from program participation. If you are investigated or charged with SNAP fraud, working with an experienced legal advisor is essential to avoid devastating consequences. Here is what retailers need to know about potential violations and defender their rights.

Common Areas for SNAP Retailer Violations

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) closely monitors EBT transactions for any indications of abuse or program violations. Unfortunately, even unintentional minor paperwork errors or staff mistakes can lead to accusations. Common issues that raise red flags include:

Trafficking Benefits

Perhaps the most serious violation is exchanging cash for EBT benefits, which completely undermines the program. Even unproven allegations can lead to permanent disqualification. Strongly advise staff to refuse such transactions.

Overcharging on Eligible Items

Retailers must adhere to established price lists for essential grocery items that SNAP covers. Ringing up higher prices illegally inflates reimbursements.

Unauthorized Items

Only designated products like bread, fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy are eligible for SNAP. Make sure cashiers never allow purchases of cigarettes, alcohol, hot foods, or pet food.

Incentives for SNAP Shoppers

Offering special discounts, bonus items, or cash rewards only to SNAP customers is prohibited. Incentives and promotions must be made available to all.

Inaccurate Reimbursement Claims

Any errors on monthly SNAP reimbursement requests, whether intentional or not, may be deemed fraudulent. Keep meticulous records and double check all reports.

Accepting Expired EBT Cards

Always check that SNAP cards swiped are unexpired. Running expired cards results in disallowed charges that authorities may construe as deceptive.

Staying on top of compliance depends on implementing a rigorous training program for cashiers and anyone managing SNAP transactions. Carelessness could put your business’s SNAP eligibility in jeopardy.

If investigators allege your business committed SNAP violations, you could be facing substantial financial penalties including permanent disqualification, fines of up to $100,000 per violation, and even potential criminal prosecution. The consequences for your livelihood make experienced legal help essential. Look for these credentials and expertise in any advisor:

Experience with Retailer SNAP Defense
Make sure your advisor has specific background representing retailers accused of SNAP violations, not just generic white collar defense expertise. Ask for case examples.

Mastery of SNAP Rules
An effective advocate must demonstrate deep knowledge of every facet of SNAP retailer rules, including detailed compliance guidance documents. Citing the precise rules is key to rebutting allegations.

Relationships With Investigators
Your advisor should have existing contacts within the FNS and USDA offices that conduct retailer investigations. Those connections could help resolve cases more favorably.

Litigation Capabilities
If settlement talks fail, you want an advisor ready to aggressively dispute violations through litigation. Confirm their ability to demand proof and assemble convincing defenses.

Negotiation Skills
Even minor violations can lead to permanently blocked participation, so skilled negotiators are vital to securing lesser sanctions. Verify their record of minimizing penalties.

Choosing the right legal representative as soon as allegations arise is crucial. Look for someone who knows SNAP rules inside and out and will fight aggressively to protect your business.

Trusted SNAP Violation Advisors

The Retailer SNAP Audit and Penalty Process

If your business is suspected of SNAP violations, understanding the audit and enforcement process allows you to coordinate an effective response with legal counsel. While procedures vary, a typical sequence is:

1. Notice of audit

The FNS sends a letter stating they will perform a comprehensive SNAP compliance audit examining all electronic benefits (EBT) transactions for a period, usually the last 3 years.

2. Document production

Investigators then request you produce EBT transaction records, employee training materials, inventory purchase invoices, or any other items related to SNAP. Comply fully within deadlines.

3. Site inspections

Auditors visit your premises and observe operations looking for program violations. They may interview staff on EBT policies and procedures. Answer questions transparently.

4. Audit conclusions

You will receive formal written conclusions detailing any identified compliance shortcomings, suspected program violations, and proposed sanctions.

5. Settlement negotiations

Promptly consult legal counsel on strategies for settlement negotiations to contest unfounded allegations and, if violations did occur, mitigate penalties.

6. Final agency decision

If talks fail, the agency will impose final civil fines, SNAP disqualification periods, or referrals for criminal charges. Only litigation can further contest.
Do not go through this process alone. Experienced SNAP compliance lawyers can guide you through responding to audit inquiries, asserting your rights, and negotiating least-damaging penalties if violations surface. But the time to act is as soon as you receive an audit notice before mistakes are compounded.

Fighting Allegations of SNAP Trafficking and False Statements

Two of the most serious SNAP retailer violations – exchanging EBT benefits for cash (trafficking) and intentionally submitting false information on reimbursement claims – can lead to permanent disqualification, devastating fines, and potential criminal prosecution. Here are proactive defense strategies if accused:

No Evidence of Trafficking

If auditors allege suspicious patterns like many even-dollar SNAP transactions, argue such patterns alone are not definitive proof of trafficking. Demand concrete evidence like witness statements or surveillance footage definitively documenting improper transactions.

Rogue Employee Defense

If violations like trafficking did occur, demonstrate they were the work of a single rogue cashier circumventing policies. Outline training provided and monitoring controls to show the business acted properly. The actions of a single employee should not implicate the entire business.

No Owner or Manager Knowledge

Owners and managers often are unaware of violations by staff. Show you had no involvement in or profit from any wrongdoing. Trafficking without owner knowledge merits lesser sanctions.

Corrective Action Taken

If minor violations happened, detail strengthened training, monitoring, and inventory controls implemented to prevent future occurrences. Self-policing should warrant lesser penalties.

No Intentional Misrepresentations

For inaccurate SNAP reimbursement claims, demonstrate they stemmed from unintentional clerical mistakes, not deliberate deception aimed at overpayment. This negates intent requirements.
Experienced SNAP defense lawyers recognize multiple avenues to defeat trafficking and false claim allegations or limit consequences. But you must act quickly and decisively when violations are suspected.

Potential Penalties and Sanctions for SNAP Violations

While any SNAP violation is troubling, allegations of trafficking EBT benefits for cash or falsifying reimbursement invoices are by far the most severe. If substantial evidence supports those charges, you may face:

Permanent SNAP Disqualification

For serious violations, the agency can impose a permanent ban prohibiting ever accepting SNAP benefits again. This is effectively a death sentence for many retailers.

Civil Fines Up to $100,000 Per Violation

Each proven trafficking transaction or false reimbursement claim can justify fines up to $100,000. Just a handful of violations may result in total fines over $1 million.

Asset Forfeiture

If FNS believes trafficking yielded substantial illegal profits, they may seize those assets. You could lose business bank accounts, property, or other valuables.

Criminal Prosecution

SNAP fraud over $5,000 is a federal felony under SNAP statute and money laundering laws. You may face over 20 years in prison if convicted.

Even lesser violations can lead to multi-year SNAP disqualification and major fines threatening your business’s survival. This underscores the importance of an aggressive legal defense.

Mistakes to Avoid When Under SNAP Audit or Investigation

From the moment you receive notice of a pending SNAP audit or investigation, any missteps could compound legal jeopardy. Experienced SNAP compliance lawyers stress avoiding these common mistakes:

Ignoring Audit Requests

Never disregard audit notices or subpoenas for documents. Prompt cooperation is essential, even if allegations seem unwarranted. Noncompliance will be treated as an admission of guilt.

Concealing Violations

Do not hide, underreport, or destroy any records that could demonstrate program violations. Honesty is essential, as dishonesty will only increase penalties.

Failing to Train Employees
If ignorant employees commit violations, lack of training will hurt any defense. Immediately expand training on proper EBT policies so violations do not recur.

Allowing Unauthorized Purchases
Carefully monitor all EBT at checkout to prevent transactions involving alcohol, tobacco, hot foods, etc. These demonstrate lack of control.

Not Consulting an Attorney
Never submit to investigator interviews or negotiate penalties without an experienced SNAP compliance lawyer’s guidance. Their expertise is indispensable.

Regulators will be less likely to pursue the harshest sanctions if you demonstrate full transparency, accountability, and willingness to prevent future violations. But you still need an advocate protecting your interests.

Act Quickly if Facing SNAP Violations

If you have received notice of a pending SNAP audit or investigation, time is of the essence in building your defense. To protect yourself or your business, take these steps right away:

Gather Relevant Records
Pull together EBT data, inventory invoices, training logs, or anything related to SNAP compliance. This aids any negotiations.

Consult an Attorney
Immediately contact an experienced SNAP defense lawyer to protect your rights. Follow their guidance throughout the audit.

Cooperate Fully with Investigators

Answer all inquiries promptly and honestly. But have counsel review responses first. Never refuse to provide requested documents.

Increase Staff Training
Enhance employee training and monitoring procedures on EBT policies to remedy any weaknesses. Document improvements made.

Develop a Legal Strategy
Work closely with your attorney to identify potential defenses, witnesses, or other factors that may defeat or mitigate allegations of violations.

With experienced legal help from the outset, retailers can resolve SNAP audits while minimizing damage to their business. But waiting to seek counsel only reduces your options. Protect your interests now.

Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me, and my company Qumana skincare feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!