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Lawyers For SNAP Dismissal of Trafficking Charges

SNAP benefits are a major source of income for many business owners, and a charging letter in the mail accusing your business of wrongdoing can be a devastating situation. Once a business owner receives a SNAP charging letter outlining what your business is accused of doing in violation of SNAP benefits laws, you have to respond. It’s best to keep your response neutral and avoid admitting to anything that might even point to a shred of guilt. Never accuse your employees of making mistakes, never admit you believe there could have been a mistake at your business, and always tell the USDA their information is incorrect.

Never speak to the USDA or respond to a SNAP charging letter without first consulting with your attorney. If you don’t respond correctly, your business could be shut down or your SNAP benefits could be taken from you. If you can’t accept SNAP benefits anymore, your bottom line is seriously affected. You must know how to handle a situation such as this, and you must know what you should do when SNAP charging letters come your way so you see dismissal of any trafficking charges.

SNAP Trafficking Charges

If the USDA feels anything wrong has occurred in your place of business, you could be accused of trafficking SNAP benefits. This typically occurs when a business owner is allowing people to use their SNAP benefits for incorrect purposes. It could be a simple as allowing people using their SNAP benefits to purchase alcohol or other items that aren’t covered under their benefits, or it might be something as serious as allowing customers to sell you their SNAP benefits for a discounted cash price so they can buy whatever they want. It might even be a simple mistake someone else made or that was recorded in the USDA’s information.

If you get a charging letter, you must respond to it. You must do this through your attorney if you want to cover yourself and be sure nothing inappropriate is said that might just further incriminate you or your business. If you are found guilty of SNAP trafficking charges, you will lose your ability to accept SNAP benefits, you might have your business shut down, and you might even face jail time and other penalties.

Your response is important. It’s the first step in the dismissal process. Once your response is received, you are able to go through the administrative appeal process. This is when you receive paperwork from the USDA outlining how they’ve decided to proceed. If they decide to go forward with their case, your attorney is going to file a motion to appeal so you can have an administrative hearing.

If the administrative appeal doesn’t work and the USDA decides they are not overturning their decision, your attorney is going to file a motion for a judicial appeal to take it to the next level. This occurs in a Federal Court. It’s this part of the process that matters most when things get this far. This is when the federal judge in your district takes a look at your paperwork and works to come up with an answer.

The if the judge is on your side when you get this far, you will find you are given a dismissal of SNAP trafficking charges. Your business will continue to accept SNAP benefits, your business will not be fined or in trouble, and you can move on with your life.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

You must call an attorney if you are looking to get a dismissal of SNAP trafficking charges. An attorney knows what to say, how to file the appropriate paperwork, and how to ensure that your rights are always met in this process. Even one misstep can cause you to lose your business, which is why it’s so important you hire an experienced attorney to work with you in this situation.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides eligible individuals with food benefits every month. The benefits are issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer card. The United States Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service Agency regulates SNAP.

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Agency defines EBT trafficking as

  • Stealing, buying, or selling an EBT card for cash
  • Using an EBT card or SNAP benefits for the exchange of explosives, ammunition, drugs, or guns
  • Using an EBT card to buy food or other products with the intention of reselling the items to another individual
  • Returning an EBT food purchase for cash or store credit
  • Allowing cash back for SNAP transactions

SNAP Trafficking

According to the USDA, SNAP trafficking can be violated directly or indirectly. SNAP trafficking is one of the more common SNAP violations among retailers and can lead to serious penalties that could include

Permanent Disqualification From SNAP
Permanent disqualification could be sanctioned from SNAP if the retailer

  • committed trafficking as defined in § 271.2
  • Committed repeated violations
  • Knowingly submitted false information that could affect the retailers eligibility

Temporary Disqualification From SNAP
Temporary disqualification of 5 years will be sanctioned if it’s a retailer’s first violation. Furthermore, a temporary disqualification will be issued if the retailer was previously warned that SNAP violations were taking place and evidence shows

  • SNAP redemptions for a set time frame exceeded food sales in the same period
  • The retailer allows an individual to purchase ineligible items, such as cigarettes or alcohol, with SNAP benefits
  • The retailer knowingly accepted payment via SNAP benefits when the buyer was not legally entitled to the benefits

A retailer may be disqualified from participating in SNAP for 3 years if evidence shows

  • The retailer has been previously advised that violations were occurring and continued violate SNAP regulations
  • Personnel knowingly submitted an application with false information that involved annual retail food sales, financial information, store name, store location, number of cash registers, or nonfood inventory
  • The retailer engaged in SNAP transactions with other authorized retailers after being warned of the possibility that violations were occurring

A retailer may be disqualified for one year if evidence shows

  • It was the retailers first sanction
  • The retailer allowed SNAP benefits to be used as payment for ineligible items that were sold to an individual on credit

If it’s a retailer’s first sanction, and evidence shows that employees were unaware they committed violations, it will disqualify the retailer for 6 months.

Monetary Penalties
If a retailer has been sanctioned with a SNAP violation that mandates disqualification, a monetary penalty may enforced in place of the disqualification if it would cause a hardship on SNAP participants in the area. This typically occurs when the retailer is the only one in the area that sells a wide range of eligible food items.

What happens When a Retailer is Charged with EBT Trafficking?

If a retailer is facing EBT trafficking charges, they will receive a charge letter. UPS delivers the letter. There are three ways a retailer can get charged with EBT trafficking. The most common is an EBT case.

What’s in a Charge Letter?

If a retailer receives a charge letter, it will provide an analysis of any records or patterns that indicate the retailer is trafficking. All transactions and the dates that they occurred will be listed in the letter. A charge letter also states that permanent disqualification from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could occur if it’s determined that the retailer committed trafficking. The letter will also have attached exhibits involving each transaction.

Retailer Investigative Branch SNAP Trafficking Letter

The second type of charge letter is sent by the Retailer Investigations Branch. With these cases, a USDA agent secretly shops in the store to collect evidence of violations. These charge letters are accompanied by affidavits and have more details than EBT case charge letters.

Office of Inspector General SNAP Trafficking Letter

The third charge letter involves the Office of Inspector General. These cases typically involve undercover investigations, such as Retailer Investigations Branch cases, but cases that involve the Office of the Inspector General usually involve criminal charges. In many cases, undercover agents for the Office of the Inspector General are trying to find SNAP trafficking rings, and these investigations usually involve multiple retailers.

What You Should do if You Receive a SNAP Trafficking Charge Letter?

A charge letter will state that an accused retailer has the right to legal representation in response to the allegations. In addition, the letter explains that the preliminary determination isn’t permanent. If a retailer show evidence that supports their innocence, the determination can be overturned. The USDA requires that retailers who are accused of SNAP trafficking submit a response to the USDA within 10 days of receiving the letter.

Seek Legal Representation for a Reputable Law Firm

If you’ve received a SNAP charge letter, it’s vital to seek legal advice from an experienced SNAP violation attorney. The charge letter will arrive without warning, and you must submit a response within a timeframe. If you have a skilled SNAP trafficking attorney at your side, it can help you keep your EBT license and avoid monetary penalties.

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