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USDA looks into food stamp use

Last modified: 11/20/2011 12:00:00 AM
A criminal swindle of the nation's $64.7 billion food stamp program is playing out at small neighborhood stores around the country, where thousands of retailers are suspected of trading deals with customers, exchanging lesser amounts of cash for their stamps.

Authorities say the stamps are then redeemed as usual by the unscrupulous merchants at face value, netting them huge profits and diverting as much as $330 million in taxpayer funds annually a year. But the transactions are electronically recorded and federal investigators are making a push to halt fraud.

Known as food stamp trafficking, the illegal buying or selling of food stamps is a federal offense that has resulted in 597 convictions nationwide.


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