People who are on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) are supposed to use the money for food. That’s why the program is still called “food stamps,” even though the days of using stamp-like vouchers are long over. However, convenience store owner Vida Ofori Causey of Worcester, Mass. amassed a fortune by defrauding SNAP out of $3.6 million.
According to authorities, Causey abused the program between 2010 and 2014. Food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is run by local and federal agencies. It is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She was able to scam the program by buying food stamp benefits from receipts for half the actual value.
“Causey purchased the benefits at a discounted value of approximately fifty cents for every SNAP dollar,” a press release from Department of Justice stated. “By so doing, Causey caused the USDA to electronically deposit into a bank account controlled by her the full face value of the SNAP benefits fraudulently obtained.”
As a result, recipients had cash on hand to buy restricted items. The restricted items could include alcohol, cigarettes and even drugs. The program is supposed to be used to provide food to low-come individuals and families. In total, Causey defrauded the USDA for approximately $3,638,900.
What’s interesting is while some people are struggling to survive off of the SNAP money by just buying food, these folks are able to trade that money for 50 cents on the dollar and still function?
The report doesn’t indicate just how they found Causey’s shenanigans unfortunately, but here’s to them doing it a little more often.
There are a lot more questions than answers. However, there has to be some way to overhaul the system to prevent this kind of abuse. Audits may be a first step, but they only catch the problems after the crime has occurred. Preventative measures are needed. Agreed?
Photo Credits: Tongagh.com