LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – Attorney General Dana Nessel announced last week that her office helped bring charges against a trio of individuals who defrauded the federal food stamp project of $4 million, but an analyst who tracks systems integrity for LexisNexis told MIRS Monday podcast the number is closer to $150 million.
And this is just the California-to-Michigan scam. There’s a lot more of this across the country, said Haywood Talcove of LexisNexis.
The federal food assistance program, alone, spent $157 billion in 2022 and $30 billion went to organized criminal groups, both domestic and international. The Romanians, the Nigerians, the Chinese and the Russians are all being funded by scams that involve people buying large quantities of products like Red Bull or Monster from small retailers and then selling them individually over the Internet or on the street.
The federal government spends less than 1/20th of 1% on program integrity. It shows. The federal government claims their fraud rate is less than 0.1%, but Talcove said that’s a statistical impossibility. He estimates that, based on the number of fraud cases opening across the country, he believes the percentage of fraud is closer to 20%.
LexisNexus has access to these new police report records.
“In December, there were 17,000 police reports filed across the country for benefits being stolen. In April, there were 250,000 police reports filed,” Talcove said.
The government is using “antiquated technologies, antiquated processes and literally zero or extremely limited program oversight.
“The criminals are going to turn rampant in that program until you start putting some controls in place,” he said.