Those who rely on food stamps say fraud makes them look bad

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by KMOV Web Producer

KMOV.com

Posted on February 7, 2011 at 6:30 AM

(KMOV) – Those who rely on the SNAP (food stamps) program to put food on the table say criminals are making them look bad.

After Thursday night’s story on food stamp fraud, News 4 Investigative Reporter Chris Nagus says he received multiple calls and emails from viewers revealing more fraud instances. One person was willing to turn in members of her own family.

Rosetta Pratt drives from Washington Park, Illinois to Belleville to dry her clothes at a Laundromat because the dryers are free.

Because she’s on disability, her Illinois Link card is only loaded with $16 each month – money she needs for food.

“The food stamps I get, I need,” she says.

So what happened just down the block from the Laundromat makes her mad.

Rami Mohammad managed the Quik Stop for years. Officials say he bilked taxpayers out of $1.5 million by ringing up non-existent groceries. According to court documents, he would hand customers half the amount in cash and keep the rest for himself.

In Illinois, a family of five can get up to $793 loaded onto their Link card for groceries each month>

Pratt says that some families sell their Link card and then go to food pantries and get food for the whole month. They may have sold their food stamps for drugs, liquor or maybe to get cash to pay a bill.

Many people who receive food stamps use them for the right reason, Nagus says. But judging by the number of calls and emails he received, there are many others who do not.

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