Dollar Store Owner In Trouble Because Food Stamps Shouldn’t Be Used To Buy Electronics

The thing about food stamps is, they’re called “food” stamps. Not “smartphone” or “iPod” or “tablet” stamps. You can’t eat those things (please don’t try), as they aren’t what’s known as “food.” As such, the owner of four dollar stores in New Jersey is in hot water after allegedly allowing customers to ring up more than $5 million fraudulent food stamp transactions.

Authorities say the man allowed patrons to make purchases of non-food items like electronics, with food stamps as payment. Over about 2.5 years, the prosecutor says those purchases totaled about $5.2 million, reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

“The Food Stamp program is designed to help people in need,” said Essex County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, director of the county’s financial crimes unit. “Any allegation of an abuse of the program will be investigated by this office.”

The man has been charged with money laundering, theft by deception and food stamp fraud during his arrest yesterday, say authorities.

Dollar store owner charged with allowing more than $5M in fraudulent food stamp purchases [New Jersey Star-Ledger]