USDA Accuses 59 Brooklyn Stores of Food Stamps FraudUpdated March 5, 2021 News
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced it has taken action against 59 Brooklyn, NY, retailers suspected of violating USDA rules for accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. The majority of participating SNAP stores are compliant with FNS rules and regulations. Additionally, the rate of trafficking among stores, which is the exchange of SNAP benefits for U.S. currency or other things of value, is about 1.6%.
However, today, FNS is announcing it has notified 59 retailers in Brooklyn, NY, that they have violated SNAP regulations and is initiating action to revoke the authorization for these retailers to accept SNAP benefits. Thirty-five stores are charged with trafficking. Twenty-four stores are charged with selling ineligible items which could lead to a six-month disqualification if FNS findings are upheld. After all due process has been completed, FNS will provide a follow up release with additional and updated information, including the names of retailers disqualified from the program. These actions follow the recent announcement of actions taken against 42 retailers in the Buffalo, NY area.
USDA monitors SNAP purchases at retail food stores suspected of violating program rules and regulations, including trafficking and allowing the purchase of ineligible items. After concluding positive investigations, USDA takes administrative action to ensure store owners who violate SNAP rules and regulations can no longer participate in the program.
“While most retailers comply with federal rules and regulations, USDA will not tolerate any retailer abusing this vital program that helps millions of Americans put food on the table,” said USDA Food and Nutrition Service Acting Administrator Cindy Long. “Today, we are taking appropriate action against these retailers, and we are confident this will deter other retailers from committing similar violations.”
Retailer fraud can be reported via the USDA hotline at (800) 424-9121, online or via email at [email protected].
In 2020, FNS implemented 2,192 administrative sanction actions against SNAP retailers. These actions stem from findings of program violations and include 1,144 retailers being permanently disqualified for trafficking. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.