Move along people. Nothing to see here. Let’s keep focusing on the funding to keep our troops safe. We don’t have time to worry about the rampant fraud, waste and abuse within our entitlement infrastructure. The welfare state is slow bleeding us to death. But it’s not politically expedient to criticize your core voting blocks.
by Jim Kouri – PUERTO RICO — Thirty-one individuals linked to a $30 million food stamp fraud scheme were arrested here this morning following the culmination of a four-year undercover investigation headed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The investigation revealed that several grocery stores and food markets engaged in a fraudulent scheme to provide beneficiaries of the Puerto Rico Nutritional Assistance Program (PRNAP) with cash in lieu of groceries for a fee. The accused business owners would register false grocery sales for the amount requested by the participants and charged them a fee of 25 percent of the requested cash.
Those arrested today included business owners, employees and food program beneficiaries. All conspired to defraud the U.S. government. It is estimated that this scheme cost the U.S. government $30 million.
The PRNAP receives a grant of approximately $1.5 billion per year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service to provide nutritional assistance to low-income families in Puerto Rico.
“We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to shut down schemes like this where criminals profit at the expense of federal assistance programs designed to help those in need,” said Manuel Oyola Torrres, special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. “Those who defraud the federal government will be caught and will be prosecuted.”
The investigation succeeded thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRSCID) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).