Whenever there is a government benefit or some kind of assistance you can always count on someone to take advantage of it, more like abuse it rather.
Where there are people that legitimately need food stamps while they are trying to get things back on track there are people that would much rather just let the government take care of them when they are more than able bodied.
In the part of the country that I grew up in, while you couldn’t throw a rock and have it hit someone that was on food stamps, it would certainly not be a challenge to find someone. I have seen everything from the folks that would spend all of Saturday and Sunday prepping their coupons for a Monday afternoon grocery store trip.
I have also seen people take food stamps and buy a ten dollar a pound loser that would barely feed one person.
Also, you can be well off financially and commit food stamp fraud, it’s one of the reasons why states have transferred away from paper coupons and have begun using the cards because there have been so many cases of people out and out selling them for pennies on the dollar that it isn’t even funny.
A Georgia store owner and ten of his customers pleaded guilty on Tuesday to food stamp fraud charges for their involvement in a scheme whereby customers traded food stamp benefits for cash.
The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Garland Alford, 75, pleaded guilty to two counts of food stamp fraud for allowing his customers to trade Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for cash or for items not eligible to be purchased with food stamps.
Alford used to be the co-owner of a convenience store called Lake Flea Market & FDR Grocery, located south of Donalsonville, where he carried out the scheme.
Ten of Alford’s customers also admitted to taking part in the scheme, each pleading guilty to one count of illegally transferring food stamp benefits.
The following customers were identified as being a part of the SNAP fraud scheme:
- Jeanie Sheffield, 34, of Colquitt, Georgia
- Kaneesha Wooten, 23, of Bainbridge, Georgia
- Wendy Mitchell Prickett, 44, of Nashville, Tennessee
- Antonio Gardner, 35, of Donalsonville, Georgia
- Victoria Henry, 47, of Donalsonville, Georgia
- Jennifer Johnson, 30, of Donalsonville, Georgia
- Renee Kimble, 41, of Donalsonville, Georgia
- Crystal Maxwell, 36, of Donalsonville, Georgia
- Rosanna Roupe, 33, of Donalsonville, Georgia
- Kayla Wallace, 26, of Donalsonville, Georgia
Justice Department officials said law enforcement began looking into Alford after receiving a tip that he allowed SNAP benefit recipients to trade their benefits for cash and items not allowed to be purchased with food stamps— such as cigarettes, alcohol, and hot/prepared food items.
Investigators discovered the average transaction at Alford’s store amounted to $56, way above the average transaction at similar convenience stores in the state— which is $7.
If convicted, Alford could face up to ten years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, while his customers who took part in the scheme could face up to five years behind bars and $250,000 in fines.