If your store has been accused of food stamp fraud, then one of the best things that you can do is to hire an attorney. Food stamp fraud is a serious crime that can carry heavy penalties. There are several things that you will need to know if you are facing food stamp fraud charges.
Retailers And Food Stamp Fraud
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is usually referred to as SNAP, is a program that is offered through the United States Department of Agriculture. The program initially provided you with stamps that have an actual cash value. The current system provides one with benefits that are added to a card.
There are several ways that a store can commit food stamp fraud. The most common type of fraud is food stamp trafficking. This is where a store employee buys a person’s SNAP benefits. During a regular transaction, the employee charges the EBT card for the amount that the groceries cost. An EBT card works like a debit card. Every time one makes a purchase, the funds will be deducted.
However, if an employee commits fraud, then they will charge a person for transactions that they did not make. You may also charge them more them more for than what they brought and give them money back in return. Here is an example of how someone can commit food stamp fraud.
A person goes in the store and makes a $300 purchase. You give them back $150. You are committing fraud because you gave them back $150. You can also commit fraud by allowing people to purchase things that are not eligible for SNAP benefits. You cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase tobacco products, alcohol and hot foods.
You can be charged with fraud if you allow a person to buy something that is on that list. There are some stores that allow people to do this and charge people for the item anyway.
What Penalties Can You Face?
There are several factors that will affect the punishment that you will get. The value of the goods and the specific offense are some of the factors that will determine the penalties. You will likely face a civil penalty if you are found guilty of food stamp fraud.
You may be fined up to $100,000 for every <a href=”https://www.nyccriminalattorneys.com/grocery-store-food-stamp-fraud-lawyer/”>instance</a> of trafficking. This means that you could end up having to pay a lot of money. The value of your items will also depend on the value of the items.
The penalties can be even worse if you allow a person to buy a controlled substance or a gun. The prosecutors will likely push for a harsh punishment. You could possibly face jail time.
There is a possibility that your store could be permanently disqualified from being able to accept SNAP if you are charged with fraud. Additionally, if your store is in a low-income area, then this can result in a major loss of income.
How EBT Cards Offer Some Protection Against Fraud
EBT cards are much less likely to be sold for drugs than the paper coupons. They also require the use of a personal identification number, or PIN. That is why the rates of trafficking have dropped. The current food <a href=”https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/consumer-protection/consumer-protection-law/food-stamp-fraud.html”>stamp</a> fraud rate is 1 percent.
How to Make the Sense of the Laws
The laws regarding food stamps can change quickly. That is why it is possible for you to commit food stamp fraud without even knowing it. However, not knowing the law will not let you off the hook. That is why it is best for you to seek legal counsel. Your attorney will tell you what you need to do in order to avoid such incidences in the future. They will make sure that you are in compliance with local laws.
Why It Is Important for You to Hire An Attorney for Your Case
The sooner you contact a food stamp fraud attorney, the better. Your attorney will provide you with the most effective defense. It is important for you to act quickly because you can lose your business. You may also face jail time. Furthermore, if you can no longer accept food stamps, then you may lose a lot of money.
The outcome will likely be a lot better if you hire an attorney. Your lawyer will thoroughly assess your situation. They can help you get a plea deal if possible. If you can get a plea deal, then your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor. They can help you get a favorable term.
Contact an attorney today so that you can have the best defense possible. They will help you protect your best interests. They will also help you get through your case as quickly as possible so that you can move on and get back to work.