The owner of a Worcester, MA, convenience store has been arrested and charged with allegedly running a $3.6 million food stamp fraud scheme since 2010.
Vida Ofori Causey, 45, owns a convenience store named J&W Aseda Plaza, and federal authorities say she bought SNAP benefits at 50 cents for every SNAP dollar from local residents. She then purportedly had the USDA deposit the full face value of the food stamps into a series of accounts she used for the purpose.
Causey has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, one count of fraud, and one count of money laundering.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts charged Causey with defrauding the USDA out of $3,638,900 in SNAP funds.
Causey pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court on Monday.
The SNAP program is one of the nation’s largest welfare programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported that the program has gone from 17 million recipients in 2000 to almost 47 million last year.
Earlier this year, it was reported that one in five children in the U.S. now relies on food stamps for at least some meals each day.
The situation is even worse in Obama’s home state. Last year, it was reported that the number of people signing up for food stamps in Illinois outnumbered new jobs created in the Land of Lincoln.
“For every post-recession job created in Illinois, nearly two people have enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps,” the Illinois Policy Institute reported last September. “In the recession era, the number of Illinoisans dependent on food stamps has risen by 745,000.”