Tags: arrest | ipad | food | stamps

Woman Arrested After Trying To Buy iPads With Food Stamps

Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 12:40 PM

By Michael Mullins

A Kentucky woman was arrested after attempting to use food stamps to buy iPads at Wal-Mart stores in the Louisville area, then assaulting clerks who refused, and fleeing with the coveted digital tablets.

After being told by Wal-Mart employees that she could not use her food stamp EBT card to purchase the iPads, Tracy Browning, 38, assaulted one clerk and shoved another one to the floor before grabbing the merchandise and fleeing the store, all according to police.

But wait, there's more.

Browning then drove to a second Wal-Mart and again attempted to purchase iPads with her food stamp EBT card. After being denied at the second location, Browning again scooped up the iPads and ran toward the exit where this time police were waiting to arrest her.

Browning was subsequently charged with robbery, shoplifting, and trespassing for last month's iPad escapade that possibly part of her Christmas shopping.

The food stamp EBT card is part of the government's ever-expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which for the past 40 years has provided monetary assistance for the nation's poor to obtain food.

Food stamps can only be used to buy food or seeds used to grow food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In its attempt to counter fraud through its 100-plus team of investigators, the government agency has in 2011 reviewed the transactions of more than 15,000 stores and permanently disqualified 1,200 of them for trafficking, while sanctioning more than 600 other stores for violations, including selling ineligible items to food stamp EBT card users.

In 2010, SNAP investigations led to 195 convictions and approximately $36 million in monetary results for the government.

In recent years, the use of food stamps across the country has dramatically increased, with a record 14.7 percent of the population — or approximately 45 million individuals — now using food stamps, due in large part to the poor economy.

Food stamp usage became a campaign issue during the 2012 presidential election with Republican candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich calling President Barack Obama a "food stamp president," due to the continued rise in usage since he became president in 2008.

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