A New Jersey grocery store owner has been arrested for perpetrating an $888,000 food stamp fraud scheme, authorities say.
Newark resident Maria Teresa Venegas, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit fraud, authorities said according to NJ.com:
She faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced Jan. 19 for running the scheme at Jenny’s Deli between November 2011 and February 2018. Charges are still pending against her father, Manuel Venegas, who is also accused in taking part in the scam.
Though SNAP recipients are only allowed to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy certain food items, Venegas instead gave some customers cash by entering made-up dollar amounts for their purchases.
Authorities began looking into Jenny’s Deli when they noticed an unusually high number of SNAP transactions.
In an example provided charging documents, a SNAP recipient only bought $5 in items. Venegas, though, debited $75 from the person’s account, which was then credited to the deli’s bank account. She gave the SNAP recipient a portion of the proceeds and kept the rest.
The store owner was nabbed by an undercover officer’s investigation, authorities say.
This incident is small time compared to another recent bust in New Jersey where the owners of the M & R Supermarket were charged with steal a whopping $5 million in fraudulent welfare benefits.
Trump is helping put an end to this sort of fraud, too. Under President Trump, the number of people on the food stamp program has fallen to an eight-year low.
According to Fox News:
Overall enrollment in the country’s food stamp program has dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years as the economy continues to improve and the Trump administration attempts to tackle fraud in the program.
According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), enrollment in the program dropped in March to 40,083,954. The last time food stamp participation dipped this low was in February 2010, when 39,588,993 people were enrolled in the program.
“As the economy continues to improve, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is declining,” a USDA official who asked for anonymity told Fox News. “SNAP was established as a temporary supplemental nutrition benefit guiding people to self-sufficiency and self-reliance, not a permanent way of life.”
Once again, we see Trump making American’s lives better.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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