food

Welfare recipients trade in food stamps for cash to buy illicit street drugs, weapons

Monday, March 12, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: food stamps, street drugs, fraud

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) inspector general told a House panel recently that some of the 46.3 million Americans currently enrolled in the federal food stamp program traded their benefits for cash so they could then purchase drugs and guns, among other contraband.

Phyllis Fong, in testimony before the House Governmental Oversight and Reform Committee, said food stamp recipients traded their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at a discount to corrupt merchants and retailers in exchange for cash.

"In terms of fraud, we have seen many types of trafficking in SNAP benefits. By giving a recipient $50 in cash for $100 in benefits, an unscrupulous retailer can make a significant profit; recipients, of course, are then able to spend the cash however they like," Fong said in prepared remarks.

Guns, not butter

Welfare fraud - defined, in this case, as trafficking in the sale of food stamp benefits for monetary gain - is punishable by loss of benefits, fines and even criminal prosecution, CNSNews.com reported.

"In some cases, recipients have exchanged benefits for drugs, weapons, and other contraband. When trafficking occurs unchecked, families do not receive the intended nutritional assistance, and unscrupulous retailers profit at the expense of the American public," said Fong.

The USDA inspector general also told lawmakers the department was not properly vetting some recipients' Social Security numbers when officials checked for program eligibility. That failure likely has led to the loss of millions per month in taxpayer dollars through fraud, Fong said.

Her office "also has been looking at recipients who misrepresent themselves to receive benefits," she said.

Poor oversight

"Recently, OIG has conducted a series of audits of 10 states to assess how they used participant databases to identify potentially fraudulent recipients, and we have completed work in five states," Fong said. "Our analysis of the databases that states check as part of their role in ensuring recipient eligibility revealed that a total of 8,594 recipients in the five states were receiving potential improper payments."

"Some of these recipients were using the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals, or otherwise invalid Social Security numbers, while others were receiving benefits in more than one State," she continued. "In total, we estimate that these recipients could be receiving about $1.1 million a month."

While the total figure of potential fraudulent activity may seem miniscule compared to a federal budget in the trillions of dollars, in times when the government is running trillion-dollar deficits and taxpayers are demanding Congress and the president find ways to trim the budget, every penny counts.

And, with a record number of Americans receiving food stamp benefits (the current figure of 46.3 million is up from about 30.8 million beneficiaries at the beginning of FY 2009), it only stands to reason that the fraud is likely to increase as well.

Keeping criminal retailers

Worse, Fong also told lawmakers those retailers who have been convicted of defrauding the government's food stamp program can remain SNAP retailers because the USDA doesn't have a policy to ban them from participation.

The "FNS is also not making use of one of the most powerful tools available to keep bad actors away, not only from SNAP, but from other federal programs they might exploit," she said.

"'Suspension and debarment' is a legal tool that federal agencies can use to protect programs from repeat abusers and ensure that the government does business only with responsible parties," Fong continued. "However, in a recent audit, we determined that FNS did not debar any of the 615 wholesalers and retailers convicted in relation to 208 OIG cases, even though a conviction is adequate grounds for debarment."

Sources for this article include:

http://cnsnews.com

http://oversight.house.gov

http://cnsnews.com

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.