Florida made it into the news this month as the largest food stamp crime ring in American history was uncovered in Miami-Dade County.
The drug ring consisted of several small retail vendors who were arrested after they allegedly stole more than $13 million through hundreds of fraudulent transactions over the past two years.
According to reports, the vendors allowed customers to trade food stamp cards for cash and the business would keep a portion of the value of the cards for itself.
Additionally, hundreds of identities were allegedly stolen from customers so that the crooked vendors could fraudulently apply for the government benefits.
The case was prosecuted by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office and Attorney General spokesman Whitney Rays spoke regarding the case, saying that stealing from government entitlement programs hurts a variety of people.
“Criminals are always looking for a way to make an easy buck," said Rays. "Sometimes, they will target these government programs. This is really unfortunate, because these programs are designed to serve a specific purpose. When they attack the integrity of those programs, not only are they taking away benefits from people who have been entrusted with them, but they essentially steal from the Florida taxpayers.”
Food stamp fraud is a felony in Florida and those committing the crime can be permanently disqualified from receiving future benefits; in addition, these vendors will serve jail time for their fraud-related crimes.