Federal charges have been filed against dozens of people in Georgia who allegedly set up a scheme that funneled $18 million worth of food stamps through grocery stores in what a Department of Justice official is calling “one of the largest federal food program frauds ever.”
Fifty-four people were indicted for their roles in the massive fraud which involved the illegal purchase of WIC and food stamp benefits.
The fraud “allegedly involved the purchase of more than $18 million in WIC vouchers and Food Stamp benefits for cash through a number of purported grocery stores set up throughout Georgia.”
Another 34 defendants were indicted for selling their benefits. Through the WIC program, participants receive 3-month supplies of vouchers which can be exchanged for food at authorized stores. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food stamp benefits to low-income families.
It is illegal to sell WIC and SNAP benefits for cash, though that did not stop the 88 people involved in the scam.