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Food Stamp Fraud Case Largest in Arizona History

Food Stamp Fraud Case Largest in Arizona History
March 27
15:11 2014

market_smallA multiple-agency effort has lead to the largest-ever SNAP (food stamp) fraud case in Arizona history.

Director Clarence H. Carter and StrikeForce: Quest, a multi-agency task force, announced yesterday the anticipated charges against Bernard Le-Uh and Monica Le-Uh, owners of Nicben African Caribbean Market Plus, located at 6220 N. 43rd Avenue in Glendale for Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Unlawful Use of Food Stamps, Money Laundering, Computer Tampering, Illegally Conducting an Enterprise and related offenses stemming from an undercover investigation targeting illegal activities associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Final charges will be determined by the state grand jury in conjunction with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. The investigation comes after months of a coordinated undercover operation led by Internal Affairs and Special Operations staff within the Arizona Department of Economic Security, in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of the Inspector General (USDA OIG), Glendale Police Department, and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

According to the press release, it is alleged that on multiple occasions the store provided cash to individuals in exchange for SNAP (food stamp) benefits in fraudulent transactions during the course of the investigation.  Preliminary data from USDA estimates fraud against the SNAP program may exceed $2.3 million from this store location alone since 2010. In addition, 33 SNAP recipients who currently receive benefits will be investigated for possible SNAP fraud, which may result in administrative sanctions and/or criminal prosecutions.

Pursuant to the federal Food and Nutrition Service (SNAP), card recipients are permitted to use benefits only for eligible food items.  By law, SNAP benefits cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash.  In a typical criminal transaction, the seller receives a portion of the value of the card in cash and the buyer, removes the benefits from the card through sham transactions.


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