UPSTATE — Attorney General Alan Wilson announced on Thursday that restitution totaling $215,249.46 has been paid back in South Carolina from food stamp fraud cases in 2017.
During 2017, 60 individuals were prosecuted state-wide for food stamp fraud with $209,132.67 in restitution ordered to the Department of Social Services (DSS) related to these convictions.
Over the course of the year, $215,249.46 was collected in restitution either through cases in the probation system or by payments made directly to DSS related to cases prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s SNAP Fraud Unit.
These results stem from the third year of a partnership targeting abuse of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Through this partnership, DSS investigates abuse cases and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office prosecutes them.
Since the beginning of this program in January 2015, $820,108.64 in restitution has been ordered from these cases.
“The people in our office and at DSS have been working hard to find people who are abusing the system and making them pay back what they’ve stolen from taxpayers,” Attorney General Wilson said. “The food stamp program is crucial to so many families and individuals who use it the way it was intended, so we’ll continue to bring to justice the criminals who are stealing money not only from taxpayers but also from those in need.”
Approximately 703,023 South Carolinians receive SNAP benefits. Recipients can use them to buy unprepared food items, such as milk and meat, bread, beans and rice to feed their families. Wilson noted that while the majority of SNAP recipients use the program as intended, those who abuse it divert funds from families who rely on the program.
If you know or suspect someone who is committing food stamp fraud, please report it by calling the tip line at 1-800-616-1309.