Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wal-Mart Scoops Government In Food Stamp Fraud Case

The cops in Alabama just busted a big food stamp fraud case in which some money was sent to Yemen, a hot spot of terrorism.
A couple of steaks shoplifted at a Gardendale Walmart three months ago led to the biggest food stamp fraud investigation in Jefferson County's history, and launched 11 simultaneous raids this morning at convenience stores countywide.
Led by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, teams of law enforcement officers met at 5 a.m. for a briefing and then fanned out across the county beginning at 6:50 a.m. The officers and agents were armed with 242 search warrants and plans to arrest 17 suspects.
All 17 suspects were in custody by mid-morning, and investigators already today have filed for forfeiture and condemnation of those 11 stores, which totals more than $1 million in assets.
"This is huge for us,'' said Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls.
The massive probe, dubbed Operation T-bone, targeted those they say have been cheating the food stamp system to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and sending at least some of the profits via wire transfer to Yemen.
However, the bigger story, in my humble opinion, is this:
The investigation began in February when Gardendale police arrested a man for shoplifting steaks and some other items at Walmart in that city. When they interviewed the suspect, he said he was boosting the items to give to two convenience stores, and he named the stores, authorities said.
Investigators contacted Walmart's Global Investigations Unit in an effort to let them know they would like to attempt to sell property represented to be stolen to those stores, but when they told Walmart the nature of their probe, they learned the conglomerate was already investigating those two convenience stores for EBT fraud. Simply put, they learned, the store owners and managers were using EBT cards that did not belong to them to buy goods in bulk to sell at their stores.
So, Wal-Mart started the investigation on their own, even though the cops probably could have started the investigation before Wal-Mart.
Especially alarming, since the possibility that money was going for terrorism, the Fed's did not get involved.
It makes you wonder how many more possible terrorism crimes Wal-Mart is investigating and the fed's are not?

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