Investigators believe they have discovered a scam in which a man purchased food stamp cards at half their value from dozens of homeless-shelter residents in the St. Paul area and then redeemed them at two grocery stores, the Star Tribune reports.
A welfare-fraud prevention measure goes into effect this week at a time the Minnesota Department of Human Services characterizes the numbers of food stamp users as at “historic highs” in the state and nationwide, MinnPost reports.
In one case, an Iraqi immigrant was sentenced to prison in May for what one federal official called “pervasive” food stamp fraud, the Pioneer Press reported earlier this year.
Minnesota has been attempting to get a handle on food stamp abuse. The state ranks fourth in the nation in the number of recipients requesting at least four new cards in a year, which is a signal of possible fraud, officials say.