“Millions of peaches, peaches for me, millions of peaches, Peaches for free”
While the throwback 1990-something pop lyrics by The Presidents of the United States of America may be catchy, the State of Georgia -”The Peach State” – has a larger issue. Taxpayer backed food stamps and W.I.C. (Women, Infants and Children) benefits for pregnant and lactating mothers as well as those with children under the age of 5, have been sold from low income families by predatory business owners.
From the FBI Press Release:
The 54-defendant indictment alleges that a number of defendants conspired to open purported grocery stores in Savannah, Macon, Atlanta, Garden City, Lithonia, LaGrange, Stone Mountain, Riverdale, and elsewhere for the purpose of buying WIC and Food Stamp benefits for cash. Once the purported stores were opened and approved as WIC and Food Stamp vendors, many of the defendants allegedly canvassed low-income neighborhoods and solicited WIC and Food Stamp participants to illegally exchange their benefits not for food but for cash. The defendants then allegedly bought WIC and Food Stamp benefits for cash at a fraction of the amount they received from the USDA by redeeming the benefits they had purchased. The defendants also allegedly conspired to launder over $18 million in proceeds received from their fraud upon the WIC and Food Stamp programs.
The 34 defendants charged separately from the larger indictment are alleged to have sold for cash over $1,000 worth of their own WIC or Food Stamp benefits and the WIC or Food Stamp benefits of their minor children.
More on this story here.
Obviously, the role placed by these soulless sharks taking benefits is appalling, but I am glad that the people selling the benefits are being held accountable as well. These programs were put in place for a had up, not a hand out. Its time for a severe examination of the welfare system and a crack down on the abusers of the programs.