A multi-agency federal welfare fraud investigation in Alabama ended Wednesday with several simultaneous police raids.
According to authorities, owners at several local convenience stores have been arrested for abusing the food stamp system with a series of fraudulent transactions. After an early morning raid, dubbed Operation T-bone, 11 locations were hit simultaneous resulting in 17 arrests.
Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls told the Associated Press that the storeowners have been buying Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards from benefit recipients for half the actual value to flip them for more expensive food from wholesalers. As a result, recipients had cash on hand to buy alcohol, tobacco and drugs which they would otherwise be barred from purchasing with their welfare benefits.