Reuters reported this week that two grocery store owners were convicted of engaging in food stamp fraud. In addition to jail time, officials seized assets including luxury and sports cars. The owners of the two stores -- located in Texas and Louisiana -- were ordered to pay a combined $3 million in restitution.
Congressman Tim Huelskamp issued the following statement about the convictions:
"Anyone who says that significant food stamp fraud does not exist is kidding themselves -- all they have to do is look at these luxury cars. It is possible -- and necessary -- to transform and target food stamps without taking one calorie off the plate of a deserving person. Within the nearly $80 billion spent on food stamps this year by President Obama, even a small amount of fraud adds up to billions of wasted taxpayer dollars. As Washington considers the next steps for agriculture and food policy, transforming and targeting food stamp spending is a must. With maximum state-level flexibility and responsibility, we can transform and target food stamp spending to those most in need -- and drastically reduce fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars."
During the House Agriculture Committee markup of the 2012 Farm Bill Congressman Huelskamp offered a common sense amendment to transform and target food stamp spending and double the savings to taxpayers. The amendment was voted down despite being agreed to by the entire Committee weeks earlier when it advanced reconciliation priorities that ultimately passed the entire House. Additionally, Congressman Huelskamp is the lead sponsor the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act to combine the 6 food welfare programs contained within the Farm Bill into a single block grant to the states.