The most heinous crime an EBT retailer can face consequences for is undoubtedly SNAP Benefits Trafficking. That fact notwithstanding, it’s the most consistently charged SNAP violation by the USDA. Accusations of trafficking in SNAP benefits at your place of business can mean stiff and speedy sanctions against you, with a high probability of being subject to criminal charges. Be advised: accusations of trafficking are far bigger than mere claims that you or workers at your grocery store incorrectly processed an EBT transaction with one of your customers.
Trafficking crimes are characterized by any use of SNAP benefits in an unlawful or unauthorized exchange. Such crimes come in many various forms and the USDA’s definition touches on six different groups of practices that are classified as trafficking:
Clarifying Whether You Are Facing Trafficking Charges
The USDA has three ways of notifying the owners of licensed stores of a trafficking charge. All three involve the formality of a charge letter. This “Charge Letter” is dispatched to your place of business through UPS overnight from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). It lays out in detail the particular allegations that the USDA is bringing against you. The most commonly occuring SNAP trafficking charge is referred to as an “EBT” case. EBT stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer. This version of the crime of trafficking is a data analysis case. Here’s an example of a Charge Letter:
SNAP Trafficking Charge Letter
The charge letter you will get shows you the transaction pattern categories that put the USDA on alert and lead them to their conclusion that you committed a SNAP trafficking violation. A number of Exhibits with showing groups of transactions are customarily attached to the letter. Department agents have been known to testify in many of these cases that they were off the opinion that the violators were disbursing “cash back” in EBT transactions and so they were guilty of trafficking. Our SNAP Violation Lawyers can explain everything you will need to know about dealing with an EBT SNAP trafficking charge letter. In any event, your best chances of defeating the charges against you in such matters almost invariably involves SNAP Violation Lawyers stepping in to handle your defense.
Another family of trafficking charges comes out of the RIB – Retailer Investigations Branch. This kind of letter shows up as a result of an undercover agent from the USDA having visited your store disguised as a secret shopper. These RIB letters usually include an affidavit that looks like this:
Undercover agent affidavit
Secret shopper matters are much more likely to be built around minuscule details than the EBT cases. In the absence of a specialist SNAP Violation Lawyers, your chances of presenting a strong defense that will win are slim to none. The specialist SNAP Violation lawyers at our firm are at your disposal for a free consultation. In the event that a letter with an undercover agent affidavit comes in the mail, call or email us right away.
The final one of the charge letters is the kind that is dispatched as the culmination of an Office of Inspector General investigation. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) undertakes undercover investigations as well, but they customarily conduct this particular kind of investigation with the express purpose of pursuing criminal charges.
Here’s what an OIG letter looks like:
OIG charge letter
Upon receiving any of these three types of charge letters, be aware that you are now officially subject to a criminal investigation, even though they may never result in criminal charges against the grocery store or it’s proprietor. We strongly recommend that you refrain from attempting to do battle in such cases on your own accord. Be wise and take advantage of our risk-free consultation. We specialize in assisting store owners in avoiding common missteps and costly errors.
A SNAP Trafficking Charge Letter Showed Up – What Next?
The rigors of a SNAP trafficking matter are taxing indeed. Because of the potentially ruinous impact they can have on the future of your store, it is imperative that you defend yourself against whatever trafficking allegations the USDA brought against you. Our SNAP Violation Guidebook is available to you. In it, you will learn the procedures of trafficking cases and what you can expect when you hire our firm to represent you.
The first steps are generally the most critical ones in the whole procedure. In light of this fact, take a look at our quick guide to so you can get an understanding of what your SNAP Violation Lawyer is going to require from you to proceed:
In conclusion, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of retaining an SNAP Violation Lawyers who is an expert in SNAP law involved in such cases. Our firm has a lengthy and impressive track record and is reputed for being highly proficient as a SNAP Trafficking specialist. We boast the biggest repository of expertise on the body of legislation that covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at our law firm. USDA agents know our SNAP Violation Lawyers well. What firm you choose to hire for your trafficking case will indeed make a difference in the results you get. Make your next move your best move. Don’t go for a stall-and-delay plan of action: strategize the case to triumph in the case.