The USDA recently announced its latest efforts to combat fraud by SNAP vendors and enhance program integrity..The press release states that USDA staff took final actions to:
- Sanction, through fines or temporary disqualifications, more than 225 stores found violating program rules; and
- Permanently disqualify over 350 stores for trafficking in SNAP benefits (i.e. exchanging SNAP benefits for cash).
These enforcement actions are part of the Obama Administration's ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste and root out fraud and abuse in federal programs, including SNAP. While fraud is a relatively limited problem in SNAP – the violating stores represent less than ½ of one percent of more than 230,000 food stores authorized to redeem benefits – no level of fraud is tolerated. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service conducts ongoing surveillance and investigation, to find bad actors and remove them from the program. In fiscal year 2011, FNS reviewed over 15,000 stores, and permanently disqualified over 1,200 for program violations.
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