Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cheats and frauds

From Fox 5/AP:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is upgrading technology used to combat a swindle of the nation's $64.7 billion food stamp program that diverts as much as $330 million annually.

The goal is to decrease food stamp trafficking, where retailers trade customers lesser amounts of cash for stamps. Authorities say the stamps are then redeemed as usual by merchants at face value, netting them huge profits.

The practice is a federal criminal offense. Authorities say the crime has brought 597 convictions nationwide and recovery of $197.4 million since 2008.

From the NY Post:

As the state looks to root out Medicaid abuse, the office charged with investigating fraud in the program has shrunk to just four people.

The state Office of the Welfare Inspector General is half the size it was in 2007 and about a third its size of a decade ago.

There are just two special investigators left on staff — down from six in October 2007.

OWIG handled 217 investigations in 2007 but merely 109 last year.

From the NY Post:

The State Liquor Authority is cracking down on tax-dodging city bodegas that smuggle cases of beer in from New Jersey.

A growing number of local shop owners load up their vans and trucks with beer from Jersey discounters to save nearly $6 a case in fees and taxes.

From Metro:

The city announced yesterday that it is suing a Manhattan smoke shop that allows patrons to roll their own cigarettes, only days after a Queens man was arrested for allegedly selling thousands of counterfeit, untaxed cigarettes.

New York has filed suit against Island Smokes, a Chinatown-based shop that city officials say evades cigarette taxes by providing customers with tobacco, rolling papers and access to machinery that rolls their cigarettes for them.

“They are trying to get around the law by claiming they’re not in the business of selling cigarettes when they clearly are,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Island Smokes argues that they don’t sell manufactured cigarettes and therefore cannot be taxed.

The suit comes after the Queens district attorney office filed charges against Abdus Shahed, 31, on Friday and confiscated 5,000 cartons of cigarette from his home in Woodside, Queens. Officials also found $96,000 in cash there. Nearly 2,000 of those cartons were counterfeit, officials said.

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