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Caught on camera: Food stamps used to buy illicit drugs

Food stamp fraud

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(NaturalNews) Americans clamoring for their politicians to cut back on so-called "entitlement" programs that have been repeatedly proven to be ripe for waste, fraud and abuse are generally dismissed by liberal supporters of said programs as raising false allegations. Supporters tend to defend such programs by claiming that those who utilize them are noble Americans simply trying to get by in a world that "the rich" have stacked against them.

The reality, however, often presents a much different picture. Of course, while there are some people who do use their taxpayer-provided benefits wisely and properly, what is also apparent is that billions of dollars a year are stolen from the public through these programs by con artists, criminals and abusers of the system.

Such fraud and abuse was highlighted again, just recently, via a Chicago-based Fox affiliate report that featured a video showing a local shop owner engaged in illicit activities involving benefits cards — a shop located in the same area where the investigative news team witnessed drug deals in broad daylight.

Fox 32 further reported:

"The Uptown Grocery on Madison near Pulaski was closed on Monday. But earlier this summer, FOX 32's undercover cameras recorded a steady flow of customers there. We also found a flourishing open air drug market right on the same block.

"But what we didn't know was that there was undercover police officers at the grocery store as well."

"We've seen it being rampant, all around the county, and in the city," Assistant State's Attorney David Williams told the news team.

Minutes later, they were buying drugs

The owner of Uptown, Ali al-Najjar, 45, was selling stolen goods and committing Link card fraud, according to prosecutors. Link cards are state-issued welfare benefits cards; they have replaced the old "food stamps."

As Fox 32 notes, the public benefits cards are intended to be used for basic necessities, like food. However, cops who posed as Link card holders say that Najjar would convert the cards to cash and give some of it to the holder, while redeeming the card and pocketing the difference.

The station reported that, on several occasions, local business people had already complained to the police department that the ongoing Link card fraud was actually fueling the drug business because it provided cardholders ready, quick cash to purchase drugs.

"The businessmen told FOX 32 that at the start of each month, when Link card accounts were replenished, there were long lines at the Uptown Grocery. Minutes later, those customers were buying drugs," the news team reported.

Breitbart News reported that, upon investigation, the police found $40,000 in cash in Najjar's store. The stolen goods inside the store came from several retailers, including Walgreens, Macy's and J.C. Penney's.

Fraud is much more rampant than some people think

This is far from the first time this sort of benefits card scam has been unearthed:

In July 2013, Natural News reported that barrels of food purchased as part of welfare benefits were shipped to developing nations to be sold for profit. The New York Post said that the food stamp fraud had actually been transformed into a type of foreign aid, but one that taxpayers — through government-enforced charity giving — never approved.

We reported that welfare recipients in New York were buying food with their benefits cards, then shipping it in blue barrels to relatives in the Caribbean. But not all of them are distributing the food to the needy; some are selling their taxpayer-funded benefits for a profit in the Dominican Republic and other nations.

In September 2013, we reported on the wider issue of food stamp fraud, which is far more rampant than most Americans realize. At the time we filed our report, for instance, state authorities in Arizona said they were already able to bust up five food stamp fraud rings. Five in one state — and those cases were just the "identified" ones. With this kind of benefits fraud going rampant by the minute, there's no doubt about it — there are more of these around the country.





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