In Belle Glade, Fla., two c-store employees at Billy’s Market were charged with organized fraud, grand theft and food stamp fraud of nearly $1 million. Police were tipped off when the store began seeing food stamp sales with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) at a rate seven times the average in Belle Glade.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) determined that when a customer used the EBT swipe card in return for cash, no receipt was provided, and the employees would charge the EBT card a much higher amount, pocketing the difference. Under the USDA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program, recipients may not convert any EBT food benefits to cash. The FDLE also noted that the two employees allowed customers to purchase items using an EBT card that were not allowed according to program regulations.
FDLE and USDA analysis of financial records showed that in 2007 and 2008, Billy’s Market redeemed $936,176 more in food stamp benefits than the store’s total reported sales for the two-year period.