White Collar Crimes: Mother, 2 Daughters Face Snap Fraud Charges

Low-income families in Michigan and elsewhere may receive assistance with putting food on the table while still being able to meet other obligations such as utility bills and rent. Benefits cards, similar to debit cards, are issued under a program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While thousands of families benefit from this program, individuals who are suspected of misappropriating the benefits could face charges for white collar crimes.

Three women in Oceana County are facing federal charges for food stamp fraud. They have been accused of offering recipients of SNAP benefits cash in exchange for their benefits cards. The arrests of the women followed a grand jury investigation that apparently determined that the alleged crimes were committed from Feb. 2008 through Jan. 2014. The charges were filed against a mother who owned a store and her two daughters who were employees at the store.

Investigators say they carried out an undercover operation in which they traded food stamp benefits cards for cash and/or products. Also, cash and/or items were traded for SNAP benefits cards. It is alleged that that the three accused individuals also converted the benefits to cash in exchange for commissions of up to 50 percent of a card's value. it is asserted that these fraudulent transactions totaled $722,149 in illegally obtained funds.

Federal allegations of food stamp fraud or other white collar crimes are serious, and accused individuals may be unsure where to turn for help in Michigan. The most appropriate step may be to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the charges they are facing. Because the circumstances of each case are unique, the outcome will depend on the facts of the case, the available evidence and the arguments made in court. A lawyer will fight to protect a client's rights and work toward achieving a beneficial outcome.

Source:, "Shelby trio face federal charges for $722,149 in food stamp fraud", Carl Gustin, Nov. 25, 2015

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