Call for a free consultation
At some point, you may receive a letter on SNAP violations if your store accepts payments by EBT from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA is the government agency responsible for pressing charges on allegations of SNAP violations. This kind of letter will have hundreds or even thousands of transactions attached to it which the USDA thinks were made in violation of the SNAP program. After receiving the letter, you should contact a SNAP attorney immediately for consultation. Your grocery store will only have a period of ten days to respond to the letter sent by USDA detailing your store’s SNAP violations. The USDA will terminate the ability of your shop to accept EBT benefits in exchange for food items if you do not file a response to the letter within the stipulated timeframe.
As of today, the USDA is expected to increase enforcement of regulations on fraudulent EBT transactions and SNAP violations. In this article, we have provided an overview of the SNAP program rules and regulations. This is to assist you in understanding SNAP Charges such as trafficking or any other charge that you may experience.
Understanding the code of federal regulations on SNAP violations
The SNAP program is run on a national level by the United States federal government despite the fact that individual states are the ones charged with its implementation. The food stamp benefits and the SNAP program are governed by the code of federal regulations (7 C.F.R. §278) and the United States Code (7 U.S.C. Chapter 51). The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) run the program and enforce the regulations that govern the program. The Code of Federal Regulations regarding EBT transactions will be referred to help any store owner understand the possible violations that they may have committed.
According to Chapter 51 and Part 278 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the United States government has the right to the permanent disqualification of any business from being a participant of any of the EBT transactions. Such an offence would prohibit your business from receiving SNAP benefits as a form of revenue in exchange for food. Small-scale retailers who include specialty stores, gas stations, and convenience stores are usually at the highest risk of having their EBT program participation terminated. According to a report that was recently released by USDA, the Agriculture Department is investigating small-scale retailers in search of SNAP violations such as the trafficking of food stamps and other offenses.
Have you received charges of Food Stamp Trafficking?
In the Code of Federal Regulations under Title Seven, SNAP qualifying foods can only be exchanged for Food Stamps by authorized retailers. Prepared convenience items, Cigarettes, and alcohol do not qualify for eligibility as SNAP foods and accepting such items for SNAP benefits will be considered to be Food Stamp Trafficking. Most cases of SNAP trafficking are associated with EBT transactions which happen to be fraudulent such as the exchange of Food Stamp benefits for cash instead of offering acceptable foods in exchange for Food Stamps.
An example of EBT transactions that can be termed as fraudulent may look like this: A cashier swipes the EBT card to provide $100 in SNAP benefits but deducts $50 in cash from the business register and gives it to the Food Stamp benefits recipient. A series of such transactions will lead to suspicious accounting which will attract the attention of the USDA. When USDA verifies fraudulent operations carried out by your store as a result of unbalanced accounting, you will receive a fraud charge letter.
There are numerous types of violations that can lead to the permanent disqualification of your business from exchanging foodstuffs for EBT benefits. These violations may take place within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and even one offense can lead to your disqualification. Moreover, the USDA may include other penalties to their legal verdict. The federal government prosecutes those who violate the regulations put in place by SNAP. For instance, in 2012, investigators from the FNS reviewed more than 15,000 stores and carried out more than 4,500 undercover investigations. These resulted in the permanent disqualification of 1,400 stores for charges of Food Stamp Trafficking. An additional 700 stores were sactioned for violating other SNAP regulations including the selling of ineligible products such as alcohol and cigarettes.
An awesome firm that truly cares about you. I thought I could handle the USDA on my own, but failed. Todd intervened and helped fix my mistakes.- Denton, CLIENT Denton