Se­nate ap­proves tougher penal­ties for SNAP fraud

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS -

The Se­nate unan­i­mously ap­proved leg­is­la­tion to­day that will help re­duce fraud in the Sup­ple­men­tal Nu­tri­tion As­sis­tance Pro­gram (SNAP) and hold per­pe­tra­tors ac­count­able, ac­cord­ing to the bill’s spon­sor, Se­na­tor Ryan Au­ment (R-36).

Se­nate Bill 1127 would cre­ate stronger penal­ties against in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses that fraud­u­lently traf­fic SNAP ben­e­fits.

“SNAP traf­fick­ing not only hurts the peo­ple who need our help most, but it also in­jects cash di­rectly into il­le­gal mar­kets, in­clud­ing the drug trade,” Au­ment said. “It is crit­i­cal to en­sure the un­scrupu­lous in­di­vid­u­als who de­fraud this pro­gram and take ad­van­tage of vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions are held ac­count­able for the dam­age they cause.”

The bill stems from a case un­cov­ered last year by the Of­fice of State Inspector Gen­eral in which a Harrisburg restau­rant traded drugs for EBT cards and bought thou­sands of dol­lars of sup­plies from a food whole­sale club to be resold for profit.

Au­ment’s bill would cre­ate a new penalty for the fraud­u­lent traf­fick­ing of SNAP ben­e­fits in an amount greater than $2,500. Vi­o­la­tors would be re­quired to pay resti­tu­tion of up to three times the amount of fraud they com­mit­ted.

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