More than a dozen retail store operators in and around Baltimore have been charged in connection to a huge food stamp and wire fraud scheme.
The indictments allege the retailers received more than $16 million in federal payments for transactions in which they did not provide any food, a fraud scheme commonly known as “food stamp trafficking.”
Retailers must apply to and be approved by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, which helps low income families afford nutritious foods.
In Maryland, the program provides eligible individuals with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which operates like a debit card. Authorized retailers use a terminal that checks the card information and deducts the cash value of the purchase from the SNAP balance.