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Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 06:35 pm
No one wants to collect food stamps, and no one wants to be on welfare. Most people do that as a result of desperation. They engage in doing whatever they do because all the available options are exhausted. If you are like most of the people who are on the government programs for assistance, then your main desire is to have your family thrive alive.
The food stamp program was designed to help such people like you. The main reason why the government developed the food stamp program was to act as a buffer against starvation and malnutrition. The main idea behind the food stamp is that the underemployed, unemployed, and the less fortunate people would make good use of the food stamps to purchase groceries until a new revolution speaks in their lives.
However, you cannot expect life to work for you in such a manner. For most people, they find it difficult to find the high-wage, steady job that would allow them to take a turn in their lives to make them work for the better. A sick child or personal illness, a down roll of the amount of hours you can work to raise money to sustain your family, a random reduction of most of the sources of money you make from other sources or avenues, or any other event that may prevent you from making all your ends meet is a significant redundancy.
When some of these things happen in your life, lots of uncertainty and confusion is developed among the people. In such cases, you look for ways to increase and make your life comfortable. For this reason, you may engage in doing actions that are often against the United States Law.
The Various Types of food stamp fraud
Nowadays, the number of hours worked in many jobs has changed significantly from one week to another. For most people, they always underreport the number of hours they work because it often leads to a reduction in what they receive at the end of the week. In some occasions, you may also have money that you receive from your family and friends. Some of this cash can also emanate from part time jobs that they show the federal government that they worked while they were also maintaining part time jobs. In such cases, the money that comes from the side jobs is often more than the regular jobs. You will have violated the law if you fail to report some of this money.
One of the next worst ways to commit the food stamp fraud in the United States is to misreport the number of all people who occupy your house at any given moment. For most people, they receive more benefits because they indicate a higher amount of people who stay in their households. The best way to report accurately is to indicate only the number of people who sleep, eat, and live in your household as a constant residence. You must also report that someone moved out of your home. You can also be suspended for the food stamp benefits if you fail to indicate that someone moved out of your house for some time. In some rare cases, you will be forced to pay back the money you have been given as food stamp benefits.
Trafficking is also another most common type of food stamp fraud in the country. This also involves the selling of food stamps for items of value or cash. Whenever a utility bill is due, most people resort to this type of activity. For some, they also come up with ways to use the rent whenever they don’t have money to pay. While you can think that such transactions are only there to keep your family alive, don’t overthink that to the extent of committing the trafficking crime. Food trafficking is an illegal act if you get arrested for trafficking food stamps, you can be prosecuted.
Retail stores have also been known to traffic food stamps in the country. You may also know a small grocery retailer over the road who can accept to be paid with your food stamps as items of value instead of money. Cigarettes and alcohol are some of the most common illegal items that can be purchased. If you are spotted doing this by the authority, then you will be subject to the prosecution if someone is not there to inform you and the store about the cases.
If you are charged with food stamp fraud, you must always work hard to seek legal counsel as soon as you can. You must work to determine your status if you have broken the deferral laws. Being charged with a crime and committing a crime are two different things as much as they look the same. While the authorities may have some part that points out to suspicious activities, it is your right to seek defense for such allegations in the country.
It may tempt you to seek desperate measures to keep your family safe as much as you work hard and fail to provide for them. However, you have valid rights as a citizen of the United States. For this reason, it is the work of the authorities to prove that you are indeed guilty. They may put pressure n you to confess the crime. They also know that you don’t have enough resources to fight the case against the state. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated or cowed. You will gain a fighting chance to clear your name if you work with a well-known food stamps lawyer.
You should also retain the services of an attorney even if you are guilty of the charges. Attorneys with experience in food stamps cases will be your only hope of mounting a credible and solid defense. Such attorneys have enormous insight into the regulations and laws concerning welfare benefits. Therefore, they will have an increased capability to handle such cases. You will be treated with the dignity and humanity you deserve. Your life’s particulars will be understood to ensure your family does not suffer.
The economy of the United States constitutes of different types of people whose levels of income vary widely. Therefore, the government deemed it necessary to ensure that those whose income isn’t entirely sufficient should be supported through a program known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
The program was intended to support those who could not support themselves financially. However, just like any other good course, challenges that were unexpected arose, and it all began when different entities started to infuse fraud into the program so that they can benefit in a personal manner. The United States government came up with strict laws to regulate the fraud that had started to infect the whole system.
There exist different types food stamp fraud, and they all depend on the actions that are undertaken by the culprits in the circus of defrauding the system. However, Spodek Law Group P.C attorneys believe that there exist three primary forms of the fraud, which in most cases are penalized highly. They include Food Stamp Trafficking, Retail Food Stamp Trafficking, and Recipient Food Stamp Trafficking.
Food Stamp Trafficking
In this case, the undertakings of individuals are considered to be illegal once the snap merchandise is sold in exchange for liquid cash. In such a case, the program fails to serve its purpose as the donation that was meant for the low-level income earners.
Recipient food stamp fraud
Fraud is considered to have occurred when the person who was originally intended to benefit from the food stamp fails to receive their rightful share. The fraud can happen in 2 major ways:
Tampering with the application process
The first case occurs when the application process is manipulated, such that an applicant fills information into the application forms that would otherwise be considered to be misleading by a court of law.
Secondly, Recipient Food Stamp Fraud occurs when the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program applicant fails to adequately specify information such as other sources of income, and the amount of revenue that one gets from other undertakings.
Such information helps in the allocation of quotas as the program is meant to help a huge number of people, and therefore, the proceeds should be rationed appropriately. Misleading the snap officers may make others miss out on actual allocations that are meant to be provided by the SNAP program.
Retailer food stamp fraud
The Retailer Food Stamp Fraud happens to be the most rampant in different parts of the United States. It occurs when a retail store that has been enlisted in the snap program is disqualified, for the failure of keeping up with provided rules. However, due to the benefits that accrue to a store as a result of distributing snap program merchandise, the owner of the suspended store may end up falsifying information during the re-application process so that the retail store can be enlisted without completing the term of suspension.
The third form of the fraud is considered to be the worst as it tends to hurt the entire economy massively. While a few persons in the society ends up benefiting, the Retail Food Stamp Fraud makes the larger population to suffer. As a result, the punishment for engaging in the crime as a retailer is considered to be the most severe, as the government expects all enterprises to undertake their activities in a manner that is beneficial to the community.
Title 21 Section 802 of USA codes outlines that trafficking is the actual purchase and the eventual selling of any products that are enlisted in the snap program. In most cases, individuals sell the products to obtain cash or in exchange for other food products. In other situations, the snap program products are regularly exchanged for explosives, ammunitions, and drugs.
The United States Department of Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition Service is the institution that is tasked with the responsibility of investigating matters that are related to snap fraud. The department significantly invests into investigating retailers who undertake in fraudulent activities as they are considered to be vermins in the economy. Additionally, finding retailers is much easier, unlike individuals who tend to be widely spread.
Retailers who engage in fraudulent activities are fully disqualified from the program, and the decision can be made by a court of law without undertaking any further investigations provided facts are provided to the jury. In most cases, businesses that are eliminated from participating in the program always end up failing, since it becomes impossible to compete with other retailers who are enlisted under the snap program.
The various penalties that can be issued to a retailer who commits a snap fraud are listed under section 278.6 of the United States Trafficking Policies that control. Any store that goes against the 1997 Food Stamp Act is liable to be fined and denied a license for participating in the snap program.
The evidence is usually collected by the FNS through making occasional visits to any store that is suspected to be committing food stamp fraud. The FNS looks into all the reports that are related to transaction activities of the retailer, and this is typically obtained from the EBT systems. Additionally, the FNS rigorously reviews the redemption data from the convenience store.
A store that is found to be culpable is in most cases disqualified from undertaking business under the snap program for a period of between 7 months to 6 years. In case the retailer happens to be enlisted again, and then commits the crime for the second time, then the disqualification period will in most cases range from 13 months up to 11 years. However, according to the law, any store that is involved in the trafficking business should be entirely disqualified from the program.
A store can only be reinstated once the full disqualification term has been served as per section 278.1. Apart from complete disqualification, fines may be imposed on the defaulting store instead of exclusion, following the stipulations under section 271.2. Most retailers typically prefer to pay the fine rather than being wholly disqualified from the program as the latter would be more hurting.
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