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SNAP Dismissal of Trafficking Charges

March 21, 2024

Defending Against SNAP Violation Charges

If you are facing charges of violating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Stamp Trafficking, or fraud, our Criminal Defense Law Firm can help. While the rate of allegations has decreased over time for these violations, store owners still face sanctions from the USDA if found guilty.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides participants with a specified monetary value in food benefits on a monthly basis through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card-based system. However, there are limitations and differences between SNAP benefits and traditional bank cards. The EBT card replaced paper food stamps in the late 1990s and is governed by United States Code (7 U.S.C. Chapter 51) and Code of Federal Regulations (7 C.F.R. §278).

Common Violations Associated with SNAP

The most frequent violations associated with SNAP involve trafficking – buying, selling, stealing or exchanging benefits for cash or ineligible items such as alcohol and cigarettes – or submitting false information.

Sanctions for Food Stamp Trafficking and General Violations of SNAP Regulations

Violators may face three primary penalties enforced by the USDA when convicted:

  1. Permanent disqualification from the program
  2. Temporary disqualification from the program
  3. A monetary civil fine

These penalties have a palpable impact on your ability to continue doing business or even keep your retail store open since temporary or permanent disqualification will significantly affect revenue streams leading to closure in some cases.

In rare cases where alleged EBT trafficking is significant enough based on size and scope; violators may also receive criminal charges alongside basic violations.

What Should You Do If You Get A SNAP Violation Letter?

Upon receiving a violation letter from USDA notifying you that you’re being charged with an alleged violation(s), review any additional pages attached at once containing transactions amounting to several different categories believed to be violations within them.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
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
2024-03-18
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
2024-03-18
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 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
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
2024-03-15
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
2024-03-12
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
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
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
2024-02-24
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.

To prevent escalation, call our office immediately upon receiving the letter since you have ten days to respond. Neglecting to do so will result in suspension or termination of your privileges to accept EBT.

How Does Our Law Office Defend You Against Allegations of SNAP Violations?

Our criminal law firm has extensive experience handling a wide variety of SNAP violation letters and charges brought against clients. We handle three phases of the SNAP violations prosecution process:

Phase 1 – The Violation Letter

The USDA dispatches this letter aimed at winning revocation of your store’s EBT license, which may come without forewarnings at any moment. There are different categories associated with a violation letter, but most contain detailed facts triggering allegations made against you.

We take responsibility for crafting and dispatching all communications with the USDA from then on while compiling necessary evidence before delivering a thorough response to their allegations. From that point, we await their response before moving forward based on it.

Phase 2 – Administrative Appeal

After reviewing your reply to their first SNAP violation letter, they send out another stating whether they maintain validity or not; if yes, they suspend or disqualify your store from the program based on initial allegations within ten days appealable by you.

From when you retain us, we expeditiously file paperwork and correspond with USDA notifying them about our intentions while gathering additional evidence useful in an appeal. We also draft an appellate brief containing regulatory codes, case law information demonstrating inaccurate charges against you.

Phase 3 – Judicial Appeal

If USDA still does not overturn its decision after administrative appeals fail; filing judicial review happens in local Federal District Court involving discovery motions and trial before Honorable Judge where our attorneys have handled numerous cases successfully.

In conclusion, facing SNAP violations can be daunting but having experienced legal representation is crucial for successful defense leading to reduced penalties or even dismissal altogether. Contact us today!

Consequences of SNAP Disqualification

SNAP benefits are often awarded to help people with low incomes to meet some basic needs. The government takes these benefits seriously and is always on the lookout for people that may try to abuse the system. Trying to defraud the government on the SNAP benefits means that there are needy people that would be left out from the assistance. As such, there are various sanctions imposed on those found to have abused the snap benefits. Since the consequences of disqualification can be dire, it is important for a person to be represented by a lawyer. The attorney can help to fight the disqualification or ensure that due process is followed. The lawyers can also explain what it means to be disqualified.

The recipients of snap benefits are supposed to meet certain criteria in order to be awarded the assistance. If the beneficiaries fail to meet the requirements, they are supposed to be disqualified. The disqualification can also come about as a result of violating some of the rules set in the program. Disqualification means that the person or household does not receive snap benefits for a period of time. It might also mean the imposition of sanctions that may include restitution for the benefits acquired through fraud.

The process of disqualification is carried out in stages. This means that a person cannot be issued with a second disqualification if the first has not been issued and completed. The same applies for a third disqualification which requires the second disqualification to have ended. Once the investigating officers determine that there is cause for a disqualification, they wrap up the case and send a notice to the beneficiary informing them of the disqualification and the reasons. The notice also includes information on the level of disqualification and when it may end.

In order to fully understand the consequences of disqualification, it is important to know the various types in existence. The first disqualification occurs as a result of not meeting the work requirements specified by snap. For a household to qualify for snap benefits, the members aged between 16 and 59 are supposed to comply with the specified Employment and Training (E&T) requirements. Unless there is an exemption, failure to comply with the requirements results in automatic disqualification. There is also the Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) Work Program rule that is supposed to be met by those aged between 18 and 49. If there is noncompliance for a period of three months within a three year period, then there is a chance of disqualification. In such cases, the first disqualification lasts for three months, the second lasts for six months, and the third lasts for a year.

A disqualification can also be issued for an Intentional Program Violation (IPV). This occurs when a beneficiary takes any measure meant to increase their eligibility for snap benefits. This is done willfully and knowingly with an intention to be deceitful. If the beneficiary defrauds the system to the extent that he or she receives snap benefits multiple times, then a disqualification can be issued for ten years. This requires for the department to identify the fraudulent activity, or for the court system to convict the person. This misrepresentation can be made with regards to identity or place of residence.

It is illegal for a snap beneficiary to engage in trade for the benefits. When an individual is found either selling or buying these benefits, a disqualification that lasts for two years for the first finding can be issued. If the individual is found to have repeated the offense for the second time, he or she can be banned permanently. There can also be a permanent disqualification in the first finding if the trading was carried out for the purpose of purchasing firearms, ammunition, or other weapons such as explosives. In addition, a first finding can also result in a permanent disqualification if the snap benefits being traded were worth 0 or more.

An individual found to be fleeing from the law enforcement with the aim of either avoiding prosecution or escaping custody after a felony conviction can be deemed ineligible for snap benefits. The same applies for those found to have violated the conditions of their parole. However, this policy is still being developed and requires clarification from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service before it is applied. In such an instance, the interests of an accused person would best be served if they were represented by a lawyer that is knowledgeable on the details.

Sometimes a beneficiary may quit their employment without having a justifiable reason. In such an instance, the entire household can be disqualified from receiving snap benefits for a period of three months in the first instance, six months in the second, and a year in the third. The snap Employment and Training requirements specify that a capable individual is supposed to hold a job while receiving certain types of benefits. Quitting such a job without a valid reason amounts to a violation of the requirements.

In addition to the beneficiaries, there are retail stores that play a significant role in implementing the snap benefits program. Individuals with the food stamps shop at these retailers which in turn claim the amounts from the department. The retailers are supposed to follow strict guidelines when dealing with the snap benefit claims. For instance, there are specific food items that are covered by the snap benefits. The retailers must not charge ineligible items such as cigarettes on the food stamps. If such retailer violates the requirements, there are various consequences. For instance, the retailer may be disqualified from the snap program. This is a loss of income for the firm. In addition, a suit for civil claims may be filed where the retailer may be required to pay back the money earned illegally from the snap program. As such, from a review of the consequences available to both the beneficiaries and retailers in the snap benefits program, it is important for all parties to have legal representation. The lawyers would offer the advice needed to avoid unnecessary disqualification or civil money suits.

Consequences of SNAP Disqualification

The SNAP program is intended to assist people in feeding themselves and their dependents. Many people rely on this program to supplement their food bill. Others rely on it as a form of payment for the goods they offer at their grocery stores. It’s a good idea to understand how the program works. It’s important to know that someone may be facing disqualification from this program for many reasons. Disqualification from SNAP benefits may happen as a result of specific behaviors such as exchanging food stamps for cash and letting people forbidden categories of products with food stamps. In a significant number of instances, such disqualifications may happen by accident. If that happens, it imperative to have help from skilled attorneys who understand all aspects of the SNAP system. There are many consequences to SNAP disqualification if the person is given such a designation. These problems may cause all kinds of problems for both retailers and to specific individuals. Therefore, it is important to understand the kind of actions that may lead to this problem. It is also important to understand that the system is designed to allow people the change to redeem themselves and still use food stamps even if there have been several violations of the rules over time.

An Intentional Program Violation

An intentional program violation is a violation that happens when there is a deliberate decision to engage in food stamp fraud. This kind of fraud typically means that the person has violated the rules of the program in some way and did so multiple times. For example, they may have chosen to file more than one application with the organization to collect benefits. Someone who is getting food stamps under more than one name is considered to have caused a highly serious offense. As a result, they may be banned from the program for a decade. Less serious offenses such as a single instance of fraud may result in the recipient being banned from the program for a single year. Each potential case is heavily investigated by the governing authorities. An investigator provides a written report that the person has the right to see and examine. A lawyer can help defend the person against such accusations.

Retail Stores

Another situation that may happen as a result of SNAP disqualification is when the owner or manager of a business violated the rules of the program. Officials may have been found providing recipients with cash in turn for the benefits. They may also have received food stamps they knew were stolen from the recipient or from organized crime. Retail store owners may suffer all kinds of penalties as a result of such actions. Even if the store owner did not do such actions deliberately, they may be still held liable for the actions of their employees. This is why any store owner needs to make it firmly clear what rules apply to food stamp use. They also need to check periodically to make sure that such rules are in place. Food stamp administrators may have found evidence of fraud over time. The store may be banned from accepting food stamps as a source of payment. In addition, store owners and managers may be liable for the amount of the food stamps. They may be assessed fiscal penalties as well as interest on the stamps. While this falls under civil law, the fines can be heavy and may make eat into the company’s profits. Companies that are unable to accept food stamps may also find themselves at a significant disadvantage in the local food markets.

Legal Help

The consequences of being disqualified from the SNAP program are many. Individuals may find it hard to feed themselves and other family members. Stores may not be able to serve the needs of their clients and accept payment. A New York City grocery store that does not accept food stamps will lose business to other competitors. This is why many people and companies turn to legal assistance. Legal help can provide the potential grounds to have such charges dismissed. A good lawyer knows how to work with the system to help their clients avoid the very real consequences of SNAP disqualification.

If the rules are not followed, the fraud involved may be discovered by outside investigators. A retailer may be asked to show their books to inspectors. They are looking to see that all such requirements that govern this program are being observed by the retailer and all of their clients. This means that the retailer is only allowing certain items to be purchased such as food instead of tobacco. It also means that the retailer is closely monitored how snap is used. The recipient is only allowed to use the funds to buy food. They are not allowed to use the card in exchange for cash to buy something else. Retailers and their employees are not allowed to exchange money for the cards and then use those cards on their own. Such violations are considered grounds for SNAP suspension or even the possibility of ultimate disqualification.

The Consequences of SNAP Disqualification

Permanent disbarment from the program is actually quite rare. Officials want to work with retailers directly. They want locals to have the ability to shop for the food they need and are entitled to by law in a convenient location. At the same time, officials need to make sure that all use of these funds are used as intended. The goal of the program is to ensure that money raised from taxpayers is used via the rules that were set up in advance by Congress. They want to feed families and prevent hunger. When officials discover evidence of fraud, their goal is to ensure this does not happen again. With this in mind, the officials take every effort to work with retailers. They want retailers to serve the public as the program intends. They also want users to know what is allowed and what is forbidden.

No Exceptions

The disqualification cannot be appealed. Once the decision is made, it is final. Those who are not allowed access to this program are also put on a list called the System for Awards Management disqualification list. This list is a serious penalty. If you are found quality of this issue, you will be put on the list automatically. Chances are you won’t be able to get work with companies that do business with the government. It can also impact your ability to get a job anywhere else as well as your overall credit rating. It is likely to show up when a company checks your background for a criminal background examination. This is why it important to hire a lawyer. You need to fight this with an expert. They’ll work with you to do all they can to avoid this problem.

Anyone who operates a grocery store in the modern world is well aware of the many forms of payment available. Paying for goods is a crucial part of the operation a store’s operations. One method of payment for grocery store owners and store customers is what is known as SNAP. This program was implemented many years ago. The goal of the snap program is to provide nutrition for families. Families are given access to a certain sum of money each month. They can decide how they would like to spend it. While the sum can be used at the recipient’s discretion, there are certain rules and regulations that need to be followed. For example, people cannot purchase non food items with their food stamps.

All store owners who agree to accept snap payments are agreeing to abide by the rules imposed on their use. A snap recipient must be aware of these rules once they agree to participate in the program. The same is true of the grocers who agree to accept payments. The rules have a basic set of standards. People can buy things like meat, cheese and fresh produce. They cannot buy items like toilet paper or paper cups. All retailers and their employees need to be aware of these rules and how they are applied in the real world of retail each day. While the rules can be complicated, retailers are expected to follow them to the letter in every way.

Federal government officials take the time to examine each store. In many instances, a store owner can expect a visit from an investigator. The investigator will have food stamps with them and use them to purchase items that may be prohibited under the terms of service. If an investigation is opened, irregularities may be found. These can include agreeing to accept food stamps for cash, an agreement to allow for the purchase of prohibited items and other issues such as letting someone who is not authorized to use food stamps pay for things.

A Charge Letter

Once federal officials believe that a violation has happened and they have enough evidence, they will send the violator a formal letter. This letter will come in the mail via certified letter. The letter will have cover letter followed by a listing all possible violations the store owner faces. The letter is not just a list of issues. The charge letter is a document indicating the store owner is being charged with a list of legal violations of snap policies. A store owner can find they are being accused of varied issues including trafficking as well as selling items to minors.

Violations such as single instance where an employee allowed someone to buy paper cups may lead to a temporary loss of access to the program. If the store owner has engaged in more serious issues such as repeatedly allowing participants to exchange the stamps for cash. That can lead to a longer period of disqualification from snap participation. Those store owners who have repeatedly shown they are unable to follow all necessary regulations may find they are unable to be part of this program at all. This is a serious and long lasting issue. The store owner who is unable to accept snap payments may find they are at a huge disadvantage when compared to their competitors.

Many Problems

Many problems can result if the store owner is not allowed to take snap payments. For example, the store owner may be well known and well liked in the community. Many people may choose to shop at his store because they like him. If the owner is no longer able to accept food stamps, this is a stain on his reputation that will be known to the community at large. It is immediately obvious the store owner is unable to accept payments. The community will also likely know why this happened.

Should the store owner no longer accept such payments, it is also likely their competitors will make the most of it. Another store owner may go out of their way to advertise the fact that they accept food stamps but the store closest to them does not. If the store is located in an area that gets a lot low income traffic, this can ultimately lead to a massive loss in income. That can make it very hard for the owner to operate at a profit or even operate at all in the community.

A problem of this kind can also create all sorts of issues with cash flow. The store’s creditors may decide the owner is no longer worthy of having credit on good terms. If the owner’s credit rating drops, as it is likely to do, the store owner may find it hard to pay other kinds of bills. For example, if they are buying a home, they might have to pay a much larger interest rate. A store owner may also find it hard to start another business because their credit is so poor.

These are just a few of the potentially serious consequences that can happen if the store owner is no longer able to accept snap. That is is any store owner needs to fight tooth and nail if they are facing this issue. Any store owner will find their livelihood compromised. They’ll also find it harder to make long term plans or switch to another industry entirely. An efficient counsel can help them come up with a strategy that is likely to make it easier for them to fight these charges and come out on top. That can help them avoid any possible snap disqualification issues in their store.

Consequences of SNAP Disqualification

American society has collectively determined that everyone who lives here should be able to get enough to eat each day. The process of making sure Americans are fed is done by many state and nationally funded programs. The single largest program that works to ensure American families do not go hungry is known as SNAP. This is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The goal of the program is to allow those who are temporarily facing fiscal hurdles to get the food they need from valid sources. Retailers all over the country have the option of working with snap. When doing so, it is imperative that the retail store owner and all those who work in the store understand what is required of them. Rules are set down by the federal government and state snap offices to make sure that the funds allotted to users are being used as intended at all times. You are not allowed to sell items like recycler bongs, or red wine.

Working With snap

Working with officials and recipients who use snap is a wonderful chance for retailers to provide a public service. Retailers are allowed to make a profit when they sell items to recipients. Given that millions of people in the United States will use snap at some point in life, the program can mean the difference between a full belly and facing hunger in a land of plenty. snap lets any person walk into the retailer and pay for the things they need to feed themselves and their family members. Retailers who accept snap payments agree to abide by the rules that have been set up to prevent fraud. Fraud can take many different forms. The perpetration of fraud can happen by the retailer or those who work for them. All store owners and managers are responsible for enforcing the laws that govern the use of SNAP payments.

The Consequences of SNAP Disqualification

Permanent disbarment from the program is actually quite rare. Officials want to work with retailers directly. They want locals to have the ability to shop for the food they need and are entitled to by law in a convenient location. At the same time, officials need to make sure that all use of these funds are used as intended. The goal of the program is to ensure that money raised from taxpayers is used via the rules that were set up in advance by Congress. They want to feed families and prevent hunger. When officials discover evidence of fraud, their goal is to ensure this does not happen again. With this in mind, the officials take every effort to work with retailers. They want retailers to serve the public as the program intends. They also want users to know what is allowed and what is forbidden.

There are a handful of things that can cause this issue. Retailers who are known to traffic in large amounts of snap cards or allow others to do so. The same is true of those who benefit from the funds personally or use them to buy firearms. A retailer who is charged with this issue may be told they can’t use the program. This can happen out of the blue with as little as ten day’s notice. In that case, the retailer is unable to accept any form of snap payment. They also cannot own a store where the store has EBT machines on site. Retailers are not allowed to manage the store or to work with employees who are involved in these transactions. This applies in the state where they do business. It also applies in any other state in the union where they might want to set up a business.

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RAJESH BARUA

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