Tags: food stamp | fraud | scam. alabama | wire transfers | Yemen | sell | EBT

Alabama Food Stamp Scam Leads Feds All the Way to Yemen

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015 07:11 PM

Owners of a slew of Alabama corner stores allegedly used food stamps they illegally bought to stock their shelves with marked-up goods, shipping some of their profits from the lucrative scam to Yemen, authorities say.

Alabama Media Group reports
local, state and federal authorities — including the FBI and Homeland Security — raided 11 stores in the Burmingham area and arrested 17 people.

Not only did the unscrupulous store owners allegedly profit from using Electronic Benefits Transfer cards — a government-issued debit card that replaced food stamps — but those who sold their cards at half their cost were pocketing cash to splurge on drugs, cigarettes and booze, authorities say.

The government reloads money onto those EBT cards monthly.

"They're selling their cards to get those things,'' Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Raulston said, Alabama Media Group reports.

"Part of the problem, in my opinion, is now they don't have their food stamps card so they don't have the money to take care of their families or themselves,'' she said. "I think it's a huge cycle of remaining impoverished."

Raulston added, "It's not only the EBT card beneficiaries, but you've got the working poor paying marked up prices. They're getting ripped off."

More than 900,000 people get an EBT card in Alabama each year, Alabama Media Group reports.

Raulston called the EBT fraud "enormous" and "pervasive."

"We actually had to cut off the number we were going to prosecute this round, and this will be an ongoing investigation and prosecution for our office," she said. "It's apparently rampant. If you just wander into the community and say something about a beneficiary card, someone will sell you one. It's everywhere."

The investigation began in February when Gardendale, Ala., police arrested a man for shoplifting steaks and other items at Walmart; he told authorities he was stealing so he could give the food to give to two convenience stores, Alabama Media Group reports.

The resulting probe, dubbed Operation T-bone, targeted people accused of cheating the food stamp system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars – and sending at least some of the profits via wire transfer to Yemen, Alabama Media Group reports.


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Owners of a slew of Alabama corner stores allegedly used food stamps they illegally bought to stock their shelves with marked-up goods, shipping some of their profits from the lucrative scam to Yemen, authorities say. Alabama Media Group reports local, state and federal...
food stamp, fraud, scam. alabama, wire transfers, Yemen, sell, EBT, card
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2015-11-03
Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015 07:11 PM
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