Food Stamp Fraud Case Study

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Company Description

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the United States government largest food assistance program. It provides a protection for low-income people in the United States to meet food and nutrition needs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers SNAP at the Federal level through its Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The program started in April 1939 and was credited to various people, most notably Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first Administrator Milo Perkins. Its mission is “to provide food assistance and nutrition education to assist participants as they move to a healthier lifestyle and self-sufficiency” [ (Hopper, 2008) ].

SNAP recipients receive a monthly allowance in the form of electronic debit cards, which also known as electronic benefit transfers (EBT). All states have implemented EBT since June 2004 replacing the paper food stamp. The EBT card works just like a debit or credit card when purchasing food. The maximum allowance in 2012 for a family of four is $668 per month, and only allowed to use to purchase food items at the authorized market. SNAP recipients cannot use the benefit to purchase alcohol and tobacco, and cannot redeemed it for cash. There were about 230,000 authorized retailers nationwide and served nearly 45 million people, about one in seven Americans in fiscal year 2011 [ (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2012) ].

Problem and Methodology
One of many food stamp frauds was discovered when an employee of New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) noticed and reported irregularities in HRA’s processing of food stamp applications. The New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) investigated the report and found out that Vanee Sykes with other four people, including current and former New York City employees carrying out a massive food stamp fraud.

Vanee Sykes was a...
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