People try to commit food stamp fraud by pretending to be needy all the time. After all, it gets them free food and who doesn’t like that? Of course, this isn’t a very good thing because they’re taking benefits away from actually poor people!
People who lie about their poverty to get the stamps often sell them because it can earn them a pretty penny and even those that are actually in need sometimes lie about family size so that they can get extra food stamps.
What is The Punishment?
If you get a light penalty, it probably won’t involve any jail time, but sometimes when the fraud is really bad people can actually be sent to jail for it for quite a while.
It should be noted, however, that jail time is considered to be rather extreme for this particular crime. In most cases, people are given a slap on the wrist and it is only in the most severe cases of fraud that jail time is a part of the sentence.
The maximum jail time that one can face for a really bad case, for example, if it ended up costing the government a lot of money, can last several years.
This is mostly for businesses that take advantage of the stamps and people that take part in trafficking on a large scale.
Either way, you are probably not going to worry too much about the people that are given these sentences because they are defrauding a welfare program that helps keep millions of people from going hungry.
In most cases, the general penalty that is given to those that commit the fraud is that they are disqualified from collecting their benefits for a period of time.
This period of time can be from a few months all the way to a permanent ban that would prevent these individuals from ever collecting their stamps again.
The general sentence is a twelve-month ban, after which the regulatory authority will conduct a thorough check before allowing the individual to collect SNAP benefits again.
The Various Faces to Consider
The fraud generally refers to incidents where an individual provides misleading information in order to qualify for the stamps. One example can be fraudulent information regarding income, which is when somebody states that they don’t earn enough to support themselves when in reality they do.
There are also instances where you can find needy people selling their stamps (selling them for slightly less than they’re worth) so that they can buy drugs or even things like tobacco and alcohol which you can’t buy with your stamps.
Another example is when someone lies about the size of their household, such as collecting food stamps for a five-person household when they actually have a three-person household. The investigative authority responsible for food stamp regulation generally checks people’s information out if any discrepancies are noticed.