Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
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.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.
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In 2013, the USDA uncovered a disturbing trend: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) fraud, also known as “food stamp fraud,” had reached a 20-year high. Determined to combat this issue, the Department stepped up their efforts by increasing undercover investigations and utilizing the ALERT system more frequently. As a result, stores that were caught committing fraud were met with a “zero tolerance” policy and faced permanent disqualification.
Congress supported the USDA’s approach, and even passed laws mandating a crackdown on SNAP violations. However, many store owners found themselves caught in the crosshairs, despite not being involved in any alleged violations. Unfortunately, the USDA’s regulations often don’t take into account the actions of the owner, leading to innocent store owners being disqualified due to misunderstandings or rogue employees.
Retailers receive SNAP violation letters through overnight mail, detailing the alleged violation and disqualification the USDA is seeking to pursue. These charges include trafficking in SNAP benefits, indirect trafficking, sale of ineligible items, and reciprocal trafficking. Each of these charges come with their own set of consequences, ranging from Civil Money Penalties to permanent disqualification.
Trafficking in SNAP benefits, for example, is defined as the exchange of SNAP benefits for cash, drugs, or weapons. This type of violation can result in permanent disqualification, and it’s important to note that the sale of ineligible items does not fall under this category. Indirect trafficking, a new violation defined by the USDA in 2021, occurs when a SNAP household sells their groceries to a retailer for use in the retailer’s inventory.
Sale of ineligible items, on the other hand, involves stores accepting SNAP benefits for items such as plastic cups, spoons, forks, baggies, and soap. More serious cases can result in disqualifications lasting anywhere from six months to five years. Retailers should be aware that the most common result of trafficking cases is permanent disqualification.
In short, the USDA is taking a hardline approach to combatting SNAP fraud and store owners should be aware of the consequences that come with violating the rules. With the stakes so high, it’s crucial for store owners to understand the regulations and take steps to prevent violations from occurring.
The federal government has agents who are charged with investigating potential violations of SNAP laws. They may appear in your shop as ordinary participants in the program. However, they are there to find out if you are violation of laws governing food stamp use. An undercover agent can spot all sorts of violations. Any such violations will be listed in the charge letter. Keep in mind the charge letter is a serious document. The first part of the list is a cover letter that states you are under formal investigation by the authorities either for misusing food stamps personally or allowing violations to take place on the grounds of your store. It is an indication that you are under investigation. All charges will be listed in great detail.
Responding to Charges
Any kind of SNAP violation comes with penalties. These penalties may include fines as well as temporary disqualification from accepting any form of SNAP payments. A retailer may not be allowed to accept payments for a month or more. The more serious violations mean the retailer cannot agree to accept payments for years. This can be a serious disadvantage for many reasons. For example, many people rely on this form of help to provide up to half or more of their weekly food budget. If you can’t accept the payments, the recipient will head to another place that can do so. Fighting charges of this kind should be done quickly. A retail store owner has only ten days to respond to the terms listed in the letter. The letter is an indication that officials in the federal government intend to research your participation in the program and throw you out of it. That is why you’re going to need someone at your side who gets it. You’ll need someone who knows how to respond to such charges and make them go away. Good legal counsel is essential.
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