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Food stamp fraud; proposed rules could crack down

Food stamp fraud; proposed rules could crack down

CREATED May. 30, 2012

Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - Federal officials are trying to stop food stamp fraud.  They're hoping new proposed regulations will do the trick.

The changes may have an impact on the Community Food Bank.  Advocacy and Outreach director Marco Liu says if done properly, they could help their recipients.

"Anything I think that would help to protect the integrity of the program so that it is available for those who need it is probably a good thing," said Liu.

If the regulations are enacted, states would be given the option of closely monitoring food card replacements for anyone who asks for more than four in a year.  It's part of an effort to reduce the number of people attempting to sell their cards on websites like Ebay.com.

"In some cases there's just almost absurd numbers of replacements," said Liu, "Again that doesn't necessarily mean that there's fraud occurring but... the federal government is recognizing that that might be an indicator that fraud is occurring.""

That doesn't mean the new rules don't cause concern.

"We also see people who are homeless, people who have mental illness or emotional problems where fraud may not be occurring they just not may not have the wherewithal or the capacity to hold on to their card," said Liu. 

He says they will work closely with state agencies to ensure that doesn't happen if the proposal passes.

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