Two Atlanta c-store owners have pled guilty to illegally purchasing food stamps from benefit recipients and for redeeming those food stamps for more than they paid for them.
When looking to purchase items that cannot be attained through the use of food stamps, also known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, consumers sometimes attempt to illegally exchange their food stamps with retailers for cash, so that they may purchase such items.
These types of transactions are not legal; therefore, retailers that partake in such exchanges often pay customers in amounts that are lower than the value of the food stamps for which they are exchanging. Retailers who then redeem those food stamps for their actual amount from the government, they are illegally attaining those funds.
According to a report from 90.1 FM WABE, two c-store owners in Atlanta have recently pled guilty to illegally exchanging food stamps for cash. Both of these store owners made millions of dollars through these illegal activities.
The report from 90.1 FM WABE stated that Samuel Kwushue has been found guilty of paying customers at his KD Metro Tropical Market convenience store 60 cents per dollar on their food stamps. He then turned those food stamps into the federal government for full reimbursement, making $2 million between 2010 and 2015.
90.1 FM WABE reported that Sholondrell Taylor was also found guilty of committing food stamp fraud at her two Atlanta stores. Taylor purchased food stamps from customers for 50 cents per dollar, and she also purchased Women, Infants and Children (WIC) vouchers from customers for less than their actual value and redeemed them for full value. Taylor made over $1.6 million between 2008 and 2011.
90.1 FM WABE stated that Maurice Ingram, unit manager for the Benefits Recovery Unit in Georgia’s Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General, claimed that food stamp fraud is not common, as fraud cases are in the decline. Food stamp fraud has fallen from 4% in the 1990s to less than 1% today.
Current reports from the USDA show that the majority of SNAP fraud occurs at small retailers, as less than 0.5% of fraud cases occur at larger grocery stores, where the vast majority of such benefits are used.