South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson announced this week that more than $215,000 was collected in restitution from food stamp fraud cases handled by his office in 2017.
Is that a lot of money? Not really … certainly not when you consider the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on food stamps each year in the Palmetto State. We’d love to give you an exact figure on the annual cost of this program, but unfortunately lawmakers took food stamps out of the state budget back in 2014.
They’re still spending the money, mind you … they’re just not reporting it as part of the state’s annual spending plan.
While we’d like to see a higher number here, every penny counts … and we’re glad there is at least a mechanism in place to address fraud within this expansive program.
Wilson’s office has recovered an estimated $820,000 over the past three years since launching a joint effort with the S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS). This joint program targets abuse of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), one of the largest welfare programs in the country.[timed-content-server show=”2018-Jan-17 00:00:00″ hide=”2018-May-18 00:00:00″]
How does it work? SCDSS investigates food stamp fraud allegations and refers those cases to Wilson’s office for prosecution.
“The people in our office and at DSS have been working hard to find people who are abusing the system and making them pay back what they’ve stolen from taxpayers,” Wilson said. “The food stamp program is crucial to so many families and individuals who use it the way it was intended, so we’ll continue to bring to justice the criminals who are stealing money not only from taxpayers but also from those in need.”
According to SCDSS, an estimated 703,000 South Carolinians were receiving SNAP benefits as of last August – the lowest print since 2009. The program peaked at 879,000 beneficiaries in December of 2012.
If you suspect someone of committing food stamp fraud, please call the attorney general’s office at 1-800-616-1309.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own guest column or letter to the editor via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.