Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services
Authorities have arrested at least 12 individuals for their roles in a $2-million food stamp fraud ring, at the heart of which are two Ohio businesses whose employees illegally obtained food stamps in exchange for money and drugs.
The scam represents a tremendous loss for taxpayers as well as low-income residents who rightfully deserved the funds.
On Wednesday, August 26, authorities executed search warrants for 19 properties, including U.S. Beef and Butcher Shop Food Distributors, a door-to-door meat retailer and a major player in the scam. The business reportedly conducted up to 440 food stamp transactions in a single month since 2011, while stores of similar size typically completed 96 such transactions.
The money from these illegal transactions was used to fund a “high-end lifestyle,” said agent Harold Torrens, head of the Ohio Investigative Unit.
Federal agents found guns, drugs, and vehicles — including a Corvette, a Hummer, and a Cadillac — during the raid.
What’s more, “numerous consumers filed complaints against U.S. Beef claiming that they became ill from consuming their purchased meat product,” according to the affidavit.
“This operation has tentacles to other states and nationwide,” Torrens warned during a news conference. “We're dealing with some real bad guys, if you will.”